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VOL. I. 



BY " BOZ." 

Which will be published forthwith m Bentley's Miscellany. 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2012 with funding from 
Brigham Young University 











Dorset Street, Fleet Street. 




Among other public buildings in a certain 
town which for many reasons it will be prudent 
to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will 
assign no fictitious name, it boasts of one which 
is common to most towns, great or small, to 
wit, a workhouse ; and in this workhouse was 
born, on a day and date which I need not 
take upon myself to repeat, inasmuch as it 
can be of no possible consequence to the 
reader, in this stage of the business at all 
events, the item of mortality whose name is 
prefixed to the head of this chapter. For a 

VOL. I. B 


long time after he was ushered mto this 
world of sorrow and trouble, by the parish 
surgeon, it remained a matter of considerable 
doubt whether the child would survive to 
bear any name at all ; in which case it is 
somewhat more than probable that these 
memoirs would never have appeared, or, if 
they had, being comprised within a couple of 
pages, that they would have possessed the ines- 
timable merit of being the most concise and 
faithful specimen of biography extant in the 
literature of any age or country. Although I 
am not disposed to maintain that the being 
born in a workhouse is in itself the most for- 
tunate and enviable circumstance that can pos- 
sibly befal a human being, I do mean to say 
that in this particular instance it was the best 
thing for Oliver Twist that could by possibi- 
lity have occurred. The fact is, that there was 
considerable difficulty in inducing Oliver to 
take upon himself the office of respiration, — 
a troublesome practice, but one which custom 
has rendered necessary to our easy existence, — 
and for some time he lay gasping on a little 


flock mattress, rather •unequally poised be- 
tween this world and the next, the balance 
bemg decidedly in favour of the latter. Now» 
if during this brief period, Oliver had been 
surrounded by careful grandmothers, anxious 
aunts, experienced nurses, and doctors of pro- 
found wisdom, he would most inevitably and 
indubitably have been killed in no time. There 
being nobody by, however, but a pauper old 
woman, who was rendered rather misty by an 
unwonted allowance of beer, and a parish sur- 
geon who did such matters by contract, Oliver 
and nature fought out the point between them. 
The result was, that, after a few struggles, Oli- 
ver breathed, sneezed, and proceeded to adver- 
tise to the inmates of the workhouse the fact of 
a new burden having been imposed upon the 
parish, by setting up as loud a cry as could 
reasonably have been expected from a male 
infant who had not been possessed of that 
very useful appendage, a voice, for a much 
longer space of time than three minutes and a 

As Oliver gave this first proof of the 


free and proper action of his lungs, the patch- 
work coverlet which was carelessly flung over 
the iron bedstead, rustled ; the pale face of a 
young female was raised feebly from the pillow ; 
and a faint voice imperfectly articulated the 
words, " Let me see the child, and die." 

The surgeon had been sitting with his face 
turned towards the fire, giving the palms of his 
hands a warm and a rub alternately ; but as 
the young woman spoke, he rose, and advan- 
cing to the bed's head, said with more kindness 
than might have been expected of him — 

" Oh, you must not talk about dying yet."' 
" Lor bless her dear heart, no ! "" interposed the 
nurse, hastily depositing in her pocket a green 
glass bottle, the contents of which she had been 
tasting in a corner with evident satisfaction. 
" Lor bless her dear heart, when she has lived 
as long as I have, sir, and had thirteen children 
of her own, and all on 'em dead except two, 
and them in the wurkus with me, she '11 know 
better than to take on in that way, bless her 
dear heart ! Think what it is to be a mother, 
there's a dear young lamb, do." 


Apparently this consolatory perspective of a 
mother's prospects failed in producing its due 
effect. The patient shook her head, and 
stretched out her hand towards the child. 

The surgeon deposited it in her arms. She 
imprinted her cold white lips passionately on 
its forehead, passed her hands over her face, 
gazed wildly round, shuddered, fell back — and 
died. They chafed her breast, hands, and tem- 
ples ; but the blood had frozen for ever. They 
talked of hope and comfort. They had been 
stranofers too lonof. 

" It 's all over, Mrs. Thingummy," said the 
surgeon at last. 

" Ah, poor dear, so it is ! " said the nurse, 
picking' up the cork of the green bottle which 
had fallen out on the pillow as she stooped to 
take up the child. " Poor dear ! '' 

" You needn't mind sending up to me, if the 
cliild cries, nurse," said the surgeon, putting on 
his gloves with great deliberation. " It's very 
likely it will be troublesome. Give it a little 
gruel if it is." He put on his hat, and, pausing 
by the bed-side on his way to the door, added, 


" She was a good-looking girl, too ; where did 
she come from ? " 

'' She was brought here last night, ''' replied 
the old woman, " by the overseer's order. She 
was found lying in the street ; — she had walked 
some distance, for her shoes were worn to 
pieces ; but where she came from, or where she 
was going to, nobody knows." 

The surgeon leant over the body, and raised 
the left hand. " The old story," he said, 
shaking his head : " no wedding-ring, I see. 
Ah ! good night ! " 

The medical gentleman walked away to din- 
ner ; and the nurse, having once more applied 
herself to the green bottle, sat down on a low 
chair before the fire, and proceeded to dress the 

And what an excellent example of the power 
of dress young Oliver Twist was ! Wrapped 
in the blanket which had hitherto formed his 
only covering, he might have been the child of 
a nobleman or a beggar ; — it would have been 
hard for the haughtiest stranger to have fixed 
his station in society. But now that he was en- 


veloped in the old calico robes, whicli had grown 
yellow in the same service, he was badged and 
ticketed, and fell into his place at once — a 
parish child — the orphan of a workhouse — the 
humble half-starved drudge — to be cuffed and 
buffeted through the world, despised by all, 
and pitied by none. 

Oliver cried lustily. If he could have known 
that he was an orphan, left to the tender mer- 
cies of churchwardens and overseers, perhaps he 
would have cried the louder. 




For the next eight or ten months, Oliver 
was the victim of a systematic course of trea- 
chery and deception — he was brought up by 
hand. The hungry and destitute situation of 
the infant orphan was duly reported by the 
workhouse authorities to the parish authorities. 
The parish authorities inquired with dignity of 
the workhouse authorities, whether there was 
no female then domiciled in " the house" who 
was in a situation to impart to Oliver Twist the 
consolation and nourishment of which he stood 
in need. The workhouse authorities replied 
with humility that there was not. Upon this, 
the parish authorities magnanimously and hu- 
manely resolved, that Oliver should be " farm- 


ed," or, in other words, that he should he de- 
spatched to a branch-workhouse some three 
miles off, where twenty or thirty other juvenile 
offenders against the poor-laws rolled about the 
floor all day, without the inconvenience of too 
much food or too much clothing, under the pa- 
rental superintendence of an elderly female who 
received the culprits at and for the considera- 
tion of sevenpence-halfpenny per small head per 
week. Sevenpence-halfpenny's worth per week 
is a good round diet for a child ; a great deal 
may be got for sevenpence-halfpenny — quite 
enough to overload its stomach, and make it 
uncomfortable. The elderly female was a 
woman of wisdom and experience ; she knew 
what was good for children, and she had a 
very accurate perception of what was good for 
herself. So, she appropriated the greater part 
of the weekly stipend to her own use, and 
consigned the rising parochial generation to 
even a shorter allowance than was originally 
provided for them ; thereby finding in the 
lowest depth a deeper still, and proving her- 
self a very great experimental philosopher. 



Everybody knows the story of another ex- 
perimental philosopher, who had a great theory 
about a horse being able to live without eating, 
and who demonstrated it so well, that he got 
his own horse down to a straw a day, and 
would most unquestionably have rendered him 
a very spirited and rampacious animal upon 
nothing at all, if he had not died, just four-and- 
twenty hours before he was to have had his 
first comfortable bait of air. Unfortunately 
for the experimental philosophy of the female 
to whose protecting care Oliver Twist was 
delivered over, a similar result usually attend- 
ed the operation of her system ; for at the 
very moment when a child had contrived to 
exist upon the smallest possible portion of the 
weakest possible food, it did perversely happen 
in eight and a half cases out of ten, either that 
it sickened from want and cold, or fell into 
the fire from neglect, or got smothered by 
accident ; in any one of which cases, the 
miserable little being was usually summoned 
into another world, and there gathered to the 
fathers which it had never known in this. 


Occasionally, when there Avas some more 
than usually interesting inquest upon a parish 
child who had been overlooked in turning up 
a bedstead, or inadvertently scalded to death 
when there happened to be a washing, though 
the latter accident was very scarce, — anything 
approaching to a washing being of rare occur- 
rence in the farm, — the jury would take it 
into their heads to ask troublesome questions, 
or the parishioners would rebelliously affix 
their signatures to a remonstrance : but these 
impertinences were speedily checked by the 
evidence of the surgeon, and the testimony 
of the beadle ; the former of whom had al- 
ways opened the body and found nothing in- 
side (which was very probable indeed), and 
the latter of whom invariably swore whatever 
the parish wanted, which was very self-devo- 
tional. Besides, the board made periodical 
pilgrimages to the farm, and always sent the 
beadle the day before, to say they were 
going. The children were neat and clean 
to behold, when Mey went ; and what more 
would the people have ? 


It cannot be expected that this system of 
farming would produce any very extraordi- 
nary or luxuriant crop. Oliver Twist's ninth 
birth-day found him a pale, thin child, some- 
what diminutive in stature, and decidedly small 
in circumference. But nature or .inheritance 
had implanted a good sturdy spirit in Oliver's 
breast : it had had plenty of room to expand, 
thanks to the spare diet of the establishment ; 
and perhaps to this circumstance may be attri- 
buted his having any ninth birth-day at all. 
Be this as it may, however, it was his ninth 
birth-day ; and he was keeping it in the coal- 
cellar with a select party of two other young 
gentlemen, who, after participating with him 
in a sound threshing, had been locked up 
therein for atrociously presuming to be hun- 
gry, when Mrs. Mann, the good lady of the 
house, was unexpectedly startled by the appa- 
rition of Mr. Bumble the beadle striving to 
undo the wicket of the garden-gate. 

" Goodness gracious ! is that you, Mr. Bum- 
ble, sir?" said Mrs. Mann, thrusting her head 
out of the window in well-affected ecstasies of 


joy. " (Susan, take Oliver and them two- 
brats up stairs, and wash 'em directly.) — My 
heart alive ! Mr. Bumble, how glad I am to 
see you, sure-ly ! " 

Now Mr. Bumble was a fat man, and a 
choleric one ; so, instead of responding to this 
open-hearted salutation in a kindred spirit, he 
gave the little wicket a tremendous shake, and 
then bestowed upon it a kick which could have 
emanated from no leg but a beadle''s. 

" Lor, only think," said Mrs. Mann, run- 
ning out, — for the three boys had been removed 
by this time, — " only think of that ! That 
I should have forgotten that the gate was bolted 
on the inside, on account of them dear chil- 
dren I Walk in, sir ; walk in, pray, Mr. 
Bumble, do, sir." 

Although this invitation was accompanied 
with a curtsey that might have softened the 
heart of a churchwarden, it by no means mol- 
lified the beadle. 

" Do you think this respectful or proper 
conduct, Mrs. Mann," inquired Mr. Bumble, 
grasping his cane, — '' to keep the parish offi- 


cers a-waiting at your garden-gate, when they 
come here upon porochial busmess connected 
with the porochial orphans? Are you aware, 
Mrs. Mann, that you are, as I may say, a 
porochial delegate, and a stipendiary ? " 

'^ I ^m sure, Mr. Bumble, that I was only 
a-telling one or two of the dear children as 
is so fond of you, that it was you a-coming,"' 
replied Mrs. Mann with great humility. 

Mr. Bumble had a great idea of his orato- 
rical powers and his importance. He had dis- 
played the one, and vindicated the other. He 

" Well, well, Mrs. Mann," he replied in a 
calmer tone; '''it may be as you say; it 
may be. Lead the way in, Mrs. Mann, for 
I come on business, and have got something 
to say." 

Mrs. Mann ushered the beadle into a small 
parlour with a brick floor: placed a seat for 
him, and officiously deposited his cocked hat 
and cane on the table before him. Mr. Bum- 
ble wiped from his forehead the perspiration 
which his walk had engendered, glanced com- 


placently at the cocked hat, and smiled. Yes, 
he smiled : beadles are but men, and Mr. Bum- 
ble smiled. 

" Now don't you be offended at what I 'm 
a-going to say," observed Mrs. Mann, with 
captivating sweetness. '' YouVe had a long 
walk, you know, or I wouldn't mention it. 
Now will you take a little drop of something, 
Mr. Bumble?" 

'' Not a drop — not a drop," said Mr. 
Bumble, waving his right hand in a dignified, 
but still placid manner. 

" I think you will," said Mrs. Mann, who 
had noticed the tone of the refusal, and the 
gesture that had accompanied it. " Just a 
leetle drop, with a little cold water, and a 
lump of sugar." 

Mr. Bumble coughed. 

" Now, just a little drop," said Mrs. Mann 

" What is it ?" inquired the beadle. 

" Why, it 's what I 'm obliged to keep a little 
of in the house, to put in the blessed infants' 
Daffy when they ain't well, Mr. Bumble," 


replied Mrs. Mann as she opened a corner 
cupboard, and took down a bottle and glass. 
" It \s gin." 

"Do you give the children DafFy, Mrs. 
Mann ? " inquired Bumble, following with his 
eyes the interesting process of mixing. 

" Ah, bless 'em, that I do, dear as it is,"" 
replied the nurse. " I couldn't see 'em suffer 
before my very eyes, you know, sir." 

"No," said Mr. Bumble approvingly; "no, 
you could not. You are a humane woman, 
Mrs. Mann." — (Here she set down the glass.) 
— " I shall take an early opportunity of men- 
tioning it to the board, Mrs. Mann." — (He 
drew it towards him.) — " You feel as a 
mother, Mrs. Mann." — (He stirred the gin 
and water.) — " I — I drink your health with 
cheerfulness, Mrs. Mann ; " — and he swallowed 
half of it. 

" And now about business," said the beadle, 
taking out a leathern pocket-book. " The child 
that was half-baptized, Oliver Twist, is nine 
year old to-day." 


" Bless him ! " interposed Mrs. Mann, in- 
flaming her left eye with the corner of her 

" And notwithstanding a offered reward 
of ten pound, which was afterwards increased 
to twenty pound, — notwithstanding the most 
superlative, and, I may say, supernatural exer- 
tions on the part of this parish," said Bumble, 
" we have never been able to discover who 
is his father, or what is his mother's settle- 
ment, name, or condition." 

Mrs. Mann raised her hands in astonish- 
ment ; but added, after a moment's reflection, 
" How comes he to have any name at all, 

The beadle drew himself up with great 
pride, and said, " I inwented it." 

" You, Mr. Bumble!" 

" J, Mrs. Mann. We name our foundlings 
in alphabetical order. The last was a S, — 
Swubble, I named him. This was a T, — 
Twist, I named him. The next one as comes 
will be Unwin, and the next Vilkins. I 


have got names ready made to the end of 
the alphabet, and all the way through it 
again, when we come to Z/' 

" Why, you 're quite a literary character, 
sir ! " said Mrs. Mann. 

" Well, well," said the beadle, evidently 
gratified with the compliment ; " perhaps I 
may be — perhaps I may be, Mrs. Mann." 
He finished the gin and water, and added, 
" Oliver being now too old to remain here, 
the Board have determined to have him back 
into the house, and I have come out myself 
to take him there, — so let me see him at 

" I '11 fetch him directly," said Mrs. Mann, 
leaving the room for that purpose. And 
Oliver, having by this time had as much of 
the outer coat of dirt, which encrusted his 
face and hands, removed, as could be scrubbed 
off in one washing, was led into the room 
by his benevolent protectress. 

" Make a bow to the gentleman, Oliver," 
said Mrs. Mann. 

Oliver made a bow, which was divided be- 


tween the beadle on the chair and the cock- 
ed hat on the table. 

"Will you go along with me, Oliver?" 
said Mr. Bumble in a majestic voice. 

Oliver was about to say that he would go 
along with anybody with great readiness, when, 
glancing upwards, he caught sight of Mrs. 
Mann, who had got behind the headless chair, 
and was shaking her fist at him with a furious 
countenance. He took the hint at once, for 
the fist had been too often impressed upon his 
body not to be deeply impressed upon his re- 

" Will she go with me ? " inquired poor 

" No, she can't," replied Mr. Bumble ; 
" but she '11 come and see you sometimes." 

This was no very great consolation to the 
child; but, young as he was, he had sense 
enough to make a feint of feeling great regret 
at going away. It was no very difficult mat- 
ter for the boy to call the tears into his eyes. 
Hunger and recent ill-usage are great assistants 
if you want to cry ; and Oliver cried very 


naturally indeed. Mrs. Mann gave him a thou- 
sand embraces, and, what Oliver wanted a 
great deal more, a piece of bread and butter, 
lest he should seem too hungry when he got 
to the workhouse. With the slice of bread 
in his hand, and the little brown-cloth parish 
cap upon his head, Oliver was then led away 
by Mr. Bumble from the wretched home where 
one kind word or look had never lighted the 
gloom of his infant years. And yet he burst 
into an agony of childish grief as the cottage- 
gate closed after him. Wretched as were the 
little companions in misery he was leaving 
behind, they were the only friends he had 
ever known ; and a sense of his loneliness in 
the great wide world sank into the child's heart 
for the first time. 

Mr. Bumble walked on with long strides, 
and little Oliver, firmly grasping his gold-laced 
cuff, trotted beside him, inquiring at the end 
of every quarter of a mile whether they were 
" nearly there," to which interrogations Mr. 
Bumble returned very brief and snappish re- 


plies ; for the temporary blandness which gin 
and water awakens in some bosoms had Ly 
this time evaporated, and he was once again 
a beadle. 

Oliver had not been within the walls of 
the workhouse a quarter of an hour, and had 
scarcely completed the demolition of a second 
slice of bread, when Mr. Bumble, who had 
handed him over to the care of an old woman, 
returned, and, telling him it was a board night, 
informed him that the board had said he was 
to appear before it forthwith. 

Not having a very clearly defined notion of 
what a live board was, Oliver was rather as- 
tounded by this intelligence, and was not quite 
certain whether he ought to laugh or cry. He 
had no time to think about the matter, how- 
ever; for Mr. Bumble gave him a tap on the 
head with his cane to wake him up, and 
another on the back to make him lively, 
and, bidding him follow, conducted him into 
a large whitewashed room where eight or ten 
fat gentlemen were sitting round a table, at 


the top of which, seated . in an arm-chair 
rather higher than the rest, was a particularly 
fat gentleman with a very round, red face. 

'' Bow to the board,'' said Bumble. Oliver 
brushed away two or three tears that were 
lingering in his eyes, and seeing "no board but 
the table, fortunately bowed to that. 

" What's your name, boy?" said the gen- 
tleman in the high chair. 

Oliver was frightened at the sight of so 
many gentlemen, which made him tremble ; 
and the beadle gave him another tap behind, 
which made him cry ; and these two causes 
made him answer in a very low and hesitating 
voice ; whereujDon a gentleman in a white 
waistcoat said he was a fool, which was a 
capital way of raising his spirits, and putting 
him quite at his ease. 

" Boy," said the gentleman in the high 
chair, " listen to me. You know you're an 
orphan, I suppose ?" 

" What's that, sir?" inquired poor Oliver. 

" The boy is a fool — I thought he was," 
said the gentleman in the white waistcoat, in 


a very decided tone. If one member of a 
class be blessed with an intuitive perception 
of others of the same race, the gentleman in 
the white waistcoat was unquestionably well 
qualified to pronounce an opinion on the 

" Hush ! *" said the gentleman who had 
spoken first. " You Iniow you Ve got no 
father or mother, and that you are brought 
up by the parish, don't you ? " 

" Yes, sir," replied Oliver, weeping bitterly. 

*' What are you crying for?" inquired the 
gentleman in the white waistcoat. And to be 
sure it was very extraordinary. What could 
the boy be crying for ? 

" I hope you say your prayers every night," 
said another gentleman in a gruif voice, " and 
pray for the people who feed you, and take 
care of you, like a Christian." 

" Yes, sir," stammered the boy. The gen- 
tleman who spoke last was unconsciously right. 
It would have been veri/ like a Christian, and 
a marvellously good Christian, too, if Oliver 
had prayed for the people who fed and took 


cm-e of him. But he hadn't, because nobody 
had taught him. 

" AY ell, you have come here to be educated, 
and taught a useful trade,"" said the red-faced 
gentleman in the high chair. 

" So you'll begin to pick oakum to-morrow 
morning at six o'clock," added the surly one 
in the white waistcoat. 

For the combination of both these blessings 
in the one simple process of picking oakum, 
Oliver bowed low by the direction of the 
beadle, and was then hurried away to a 
large ward, where, on a rough hard bed, he 
sobbed himself to sleep. What a noble illus- 
tration of the tender laws of this favoured 
country ! — they let the paupers go to sleep ! 

Poor Oliver ! He little thought, as he lay 
sleeping in happy unconsciousness of all around 
him, that the board had that very day arrived 
at a decision which would exercise the most 
material influence over all his future fortunes. 
But they had. And this was it : — 

The members of this board were very sage, 
deep, philosophical men ; and when they came 


to turn their attention to the workhouse, thej^ 
found out at once, what ordinary folks would 
never have discovered, — the poor people liked 
it ! It was a regular place of public enter- 
tainment for the poorer classes, — a tavern 
where there was nothing to pay, — a public 
breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper all the year 
round, — a brick and mortar elysium, where it 
was all play and no work. " Oho !" said the 
board, looking very knowing ; "we are the 
fellows to set this to rights ; we '11 stop it all 
in no time." So, they established the rule, 
that all poor people should have the alternative 
(for they would compel nobody, not they,) 
of being starved by a gradual process in the 
house, or by a quick one out of it. With 
this view, they contracted with the water- 
works to lay on an unlimited supply of water, 
and with a corn-factor to supply periodically 
small quantities of oatmeal ; and issued three 
meals of thin gruel a-day, with an onion 
twice a week, and half a roll on Sundays. 
They made a great many other wise and hu- 

VOL. I. c 


mane regulations having . reference to the 
ladies, which it is not necessary to repeat; 
kindly undertook to divorce poor married 
people, in consequence of the great expense 
of a suit in Doctors' Commons ; and, instead 
of compelling a man to support" his family as 
they had theretofore done, took his family 
away from him, and made him a bachelor ! 
There is no telling how many applicants for 
relief under these last two heads would not 
have started up in all classes of society, if it 
had not been coupled with the workhouse. 
But they were long-headed men, and they 
had provided for this difficulty. The relief 
was inseparable from the workhouse and the 
gruel, and that frightened people. 

For the first six months after Oliver Twist 
was removed, the system was in full operation. 
It was rather expensive at first, in consequence 
of the increase of the undertaker's bill, and the 
necessity of taking in the clothes of all the 
paupers, which fluttered loosely on their wasted, 
shrunken forms, after a week or two's gruel. 
But the number of workhouse inmates got 


thin as well as the paupers, and the board 
were in ecstasies. 

The room in which the boys were fed, was a 
large stone hall, with a copper at one end, 
out of which the master, dressed in an apron 
for the purpose, and assisted by one or two 
women, ladled the gruel at meal-times ; of 
which composition each boy had one porringer, 
and no more, — except on festive occasions, and 
then he had two ounces and a quarter of bread 
besides. The bowls never wanted washing — 
the boys polished them with their spoons till 
they shone again ; and when they had per- 
formed this operation, (which never took very 
long, the spoons being nearly as large as the 
bowls,) they would sit staring at the copper 
with such eager eyes as if they could devour 
the very bricks of which it was composed ; 
employing themselves meanwhile in sucking 
their fingers most assiduously, with the view 
of catching up any stray splashes of gruel that 
might have been cast thereon. Boys have 
generally excellent appetites. Oliver Twist and 



his companions suiFered the tortures of slow 
starvation for three months ; at last they got 
so voracious and vv^ild with hunger, that one 
boy, who was tall for his age, and hadn't been 
used to that sort of thing, (for his father had 
kept a small cook's shop,) hinted darkly to 
his companions, that unless he had another 
basin of gruel per diem, he was afraid he should 
some night eat the boy who slept next him, 
who happened to be a weakly youth of tender 
age. He had a wild, hungry eye, and they 
implicitly believed him. A council was held ; 
lots were cast who should walk up to the mas- 
ter after supper that evening, and ask for more ; 
and it fell to Oliver Twist. 

The evening arrived: the boys took their 
places ; the master in his cook's uniform sta- 
tioned himself at the copper ; his pauper assist- 
ants ranged themselves behind him ; the gruel 
was served out, and a long grace was said over 
the short commons. The gruel disappeared, 
and the boys whispered each other and winked 
at Oliver, while his next neighbours nudged 
him. Child as he was, he was desperate with 


//V^/.-'' /^/'yJ//'/-^/7^/^ /^'^/' ^^/'^^/-'. 



hunger and reckless with misery. He rose 
from the table, and advancing basin and spoon 
in hand, to the master, said, somewhat alarmed 
at his own temerity — 

" Please, sir, I want some more."' 

The master was a fat, healthy man, but he 
turned very pale. He gazed in stupified asto- 
nishment on the small rebel for some seconds, 
and then clung for support to the copper. The 
assistants were paralysed with wonder, and the 
boys with fear. 

" What!" said the master at length, in a 
faint voice. 

" Please, sir," replied Oliver, " I want some 

The master aimed a blow at Oliver's head 
with the ladle, pinioned him in his arms, and 
shrieked aloud for the beadle. 

The board were sitting in solemn conclave 
when Mr. Bumble rushed into the room in 
great excitement, and addressing the gentleman 
in the high chair, said, — 

" Mr. Limbkins, I beg your pardon, sir ; — 
Oliver Twist has asked for more." There was 


a general start. Horror was depicted on every 

" For more /^' said Mr. Limbkins. " Com- 
pose yourself, Bumble, and answer me distinct- 
ly. Do I understand that he asked for more, 
after he had eaten the supper allotted by the 
dietary ? " 

" He did, sir," replied Bumble. 

" That boy will be hung," said the gentle- 
man in the white waistcoat ; "I know that 
boy will be hung." 

Nobody controverted the prophetic gentle- 
man's opinion. An animated discussion took 
place. Oliver was ordered into instant confine- 
ment ; and a bill was next morning pasted on 
the outside of the gate, oifering a reward of five 
pounds to anybody who would take Oliver 
Twist off the hands of the parish. In other 
words, five pounds and Oliver Twist were 
offered to any man or woman who wanted an 
apprentice to any trade, business, or calling. 

" I never was more convinced of anything in 
my life," said the gentleman in the white waist- 
coat, as he knocked at the gate and read the 


bill next morning, — " I never was more con- 
vinced of anything in my life, than I am that 
that boy will come to be hung." 

As I purpose to show in the sequel whether 
the white-waistcoated gentleman was right or 
not, I should perhaps mar the interest of this 
narrative, (supposing it to possess any at all,) 
if I ventured to hint just yet, whether the life 
of Oliver Twist had this violent termination 
or no. 




For a week after the commission of the im- 
pious and profane offence of asking for more, 
OUver remained a close prisoner in the dark and 
sohtary room to which he had been consigned 
hy the wisdom and mercy of the board. It 
appears, at first sight, not unreasonable to sup- 
pose, that, if he had entertained a becoming 
feeling of respect for the prediction of the gen- 
tleman in the white waistcoat, he would have 
established that sage individual's prophetic cha- 
racter, once and for ever, by tying one end of 
his pocket handkerchief to a hook in the wall, 
and attaching himself to the other. To the 
performance of this feat, however, there was 
one obstacle, namely, that pocket-handkerchiefs 


being decided articles of luxury, had been, for 
all future times and ages, removed from the 
noses of paupers by the express order of the 
board in council assembled, solemnly given and 
pronounced under their hands and seals. There 
was a still greater obstacle in Oliver's youth 
and childishness. He only cried bitterly all 
day ; and when the long, dismal night came on, 
he spread his little hands before his eyes to shut 
out the darkness, and crouching in the corner, 
tried to sleep : ever and anon waking with a start 
and tremble, and drawing himself closer and 
closer to the wall, as if to feel even its cold 
hard surface were a protection in the gloom and 
loneliness which surrounded him. 

Let it not be supposed by the enemies of 
" the system,'' that, during the period of his 
solitary incarceration, Oliver was denied the 
benefit of exercise, the pleasure of society, or 
the advantages of religious consolation. As 
for exercise, it was nice cold weather, and he 
was allowed to perform his ablutions every 
morning under the pump, in a stone yard, in 
the presence of Mr. Bumble, who prevented his 

c 5 


catching cold, and caused a tingling sensation 
to pervade his frame, by repeated applications 
of the cane ; as for society, he was carried every 
other day into the hall where the boys dined, 
and there sociably flogged as a public warning 
and example ; and so far from being denied the 
advantages of religious consolation, he was 
kicked into the same apartment every evening 
at prayer-time, and there permitted to listen to, 
and console his mind with, a general supplica^ 
tion of the boys, containing a special clause 
therein inserted by authority of the board, in 
which they entreated to be made good, vir- 
tuous, contented, and obedient, and to be guard- 
ed from the sins and vices of Oliver Twist, 
whom the supplication distinctly set forth to be 
under the exclusive patronage and protection of 
the powers of wickedness, and an article direct 
from the manufactory of the devil himself. 

It chanced one morning, while Oliver's af- 
fairs were in this auspicious and comfortable 
state, that Mr. Gamfield, chimney-sweeper, was 
wending his way adown the High-street, deeply 
cogitating in his mind his ways and means of 


paying certain arrears of rent, for which his 
landlord had become rather pressing, Mr. 
Gamfiekrs most sanguine calculation of funds 
could not raise them within full five pounds of 
the desired amount ; and, in a species of arith- 
metical desperation, he was alternately cudgel- 
ling his brains and his donkey, when, passing 
the workhouse, his eyes encountered the bill 
on the gate. 

" Wo — !" said Mr. Gamfield to the donkey. 

The donkey was in a state of profound abs- 
traction, — wondering, probably, whether he 
was destined to be regaled with a cabbage- 
stalk or two, when he had disposed of the two 
sacks of soot with which the little cart was 
laden ; so, without noticing the word of com- 
mand, he jogged onwards. 

Mr. Gamfield growled a fierce imprecation 
on the donkey generally, but more particularly 
on his eyes ; and, running after him, bestowed 
a blow on his head, which would inevitably 
have beaten in any skull but a donkey^s; 
then, catching hold of the bridle, he gave his 
jaw a sharp wrench, by way of gentle reminder 


that he was not his own master: and, having 
by these means turned him round, he gave him 
another blow on the head, just to stun him till 
he came back again ; and, having done so, 
walked up to the gate to read the bill. 

The gentleman with the white waistcoat was 
standing at the gate with his hands behind him, 
after having delivered himself of some profound 
sentiments in the board-room. Having wit- 
nessed the little dispute between Mr. Gamfield 
and the donkey, he smiled joyously when that 
person came up to read the bill, for he saw at 
once that Mr. Gamfield was exactly the sort 
of master Oliver Twist wanted. Mr. Gam- 
field smiled, too, as he perused the document, 
for five pounds was just the sum he had been 
wishing for ; and, as to the boy with which it 
was encumbered, Mr. Gamfield, knowing what 
the dietary of the workhouse was, well knew he 
would be a nice small pattern, just the very 
thing for register stoves. So he spelt the bill 
through again, from beginning to end, and 
then, touching his fur cap in token of humility, 
accosted the gentleman in the white waistcoat. 


'' This here boy, sir, wot the parish wants to 
'prentis," said Mr. Gamfield. 

" Yes, my man," said the gentleman in the 
white waistcoat, with a condescending smile, 
"what of him?" 

" If the parish vould like him to learn a 
light pleasant trade, in a good 'spectable chim- 
bley-sweepin' bisness," said Mr. Gamfield, " I 
wants a 'prentis, and I 'm ready to take him." 

" Walk in," said the gentleman in the white 
waistcoat. Mr. Gamfield having lingered be- 
hind, to give the donkey another blow on the 
head, and another wrench of the jaw, as a cau- 
tion not to run away in his absence, followed 
the gentleman with the white waistcoat into 
the room where Oliver had first seen him. 

'* It's a nasty trade," said Mr. Limbkins 
when Gamfield had again stated his wish. 

"- Young boys have been smothered in chim- 
neys before now," said another gentleman. 

'' That 's acause they damped the straw afore 
they lit it in the chimbley to make 'em come 
down again," said Gamfield ; " that 's all smoke, 
and no blaze ; vereas smoke ain't o' no use at 


all in makin' a boy come down, for it only sinds 
him to sleep, and that 's wot he likes. Boys is 
wery obstinit, and wery lazy, gen'lmen, and 
there 's nothink like a good hot blaze to make 
''em come down vith a run ; it 's humane too, 
genlmen, acause, even if they've' stuck in the 
chimbley, roastin' their feet makes 'em struggle 
to hextricate theirselves." 

The gentleman in the white waistcoat ap- 
peared very much amused by this explanation ; 
but his mirth was speedily checked by a look 
from Mr. Limbkins. The board then proceed- 
ed to converse among themselves for a few mi- 
nutes, but in so low a tone, that the words 
" saving of expenditure," " look well in the 
accounts," " have a printed report published," 
were alone audible : and they only chanced to 
be heard on account of their being very fre- 
quently repeated with great emphasis. 

At length the whispering ceased, and the 
members of the board having resumed their 
seats and their solemnity, Mr. Limbkins said, 

" We have considered your proposition, and 
we don't approve of it." 


" Not at all,"" said the gentleman in the 
white waistcoat. 

" Decidedly not," added the other members. 

As Mr. Gamfield did happen to labour under 
the slight imputation of having bruised three or 
four bojs to death already, it occurred to him 
that the board had perhaps, in some unaccount- 
able freak, taken it into their heads that this 
extraneous circumstance ought to influence 
their proceedings. It was very unlike their 
general mode of doing business, if they had ; 
but still, as he had no particular wish to revive 
the rumour, he twisted his cap in his hands, 
and walked slowly from the table. 

" So you won't let me have him, gen'lmen," 
said Mr. Gamfield, pausing near the door. 

" No," replied Mr. Limbkins ; " at least, as 
it's a nasty business, we think you ought to 
take something less than the premium we 

Mr. Gamfield's countenance brightened, as, 
with a quick step he returned to the table, and 

" What '11 you give, gen'lmen ? Come, don't 


be too hard on a poor man. What '11 you 
give ? " 

" I should say three pound ten was plenty 5'' 
said Mr. Limhkins. 

" Ten shillings too much," said the gentle- 
man in the white waistcoat. 

" Come," said Gamfield ; " say four pound, 
gen''lmen. Say four pound, and you've got 
rid of him for good and all. There ! " 

" Three pound ten," repeated Mr. Limhkins, 

" Come, I '11 split the difference, gen'lmen," 
urged Gamfield. " Three pound fifteen." 

" Not a farthing more," was the firm reply 
of Mr. Limhkins. 

" You 're desp'rate hard upon me, gen'lmen," 
said Gamfield, wavering. 

" Pooh ! pooh ! nonsense ! " said the gentle- 
man in the white waistcoat. " He 'd he cheap 
with nothing at all, as a premium. Take him, 
you silly fellow ! He 's just the boy for you. 
He wants the stick now and then ; it '11 do him 
good ; and his board needn't come very expen- 
sive, for he hasn't been overfed since he was 
born. Ha ! ha ! ha ! " 


Mr. Gamfield gave an arch look at the faces 
round the table, and, ohserving* a smile on all 
of them, gradually broke into a smile himself. 
The bargain was made, and Mr. Bumble was 
at once instructed that Oliver Twist and hie 
indentures were to be conveyed before the ma- 
gistrate for signature and approval that very 

In pursuance of this determination, little Oli- 
ver, to his excessive astonishment, was released 
from bondage, and ordered to put himself into 
a clean shirt. He had hardly achieved this 
very unusual gymnastic performance, when Mr. 
Bumble brought him with his own hands a 
basin of gruel, and the holiday allowance of 
two ounces and a quarter of bread ; at sight of 
which Oliver began to cry very piteously, think- 
ing, not unnaturally, that the board must have 
determined to kill him for some useful purpose, 
or they never would have begun to fatten him 
up in this way. 

" Don't make your eyes red, Oliver, but eat 
your food and be thankful,'' said Mr. Bumble, 
in a tone of impressive pomposity. '' You 're 
a-going to be made a 'prentice of, Oliver." 


" A 'prentice, sir ! " said the child, trembling. 

'' Yes, Oliver,'' said Mr. Bumble. " The kind 
and blessed gentlemen which is so many pa- 
rents to you, Oliver, when you have none of 
your own, are a-going to 'prentice you, and to 
set you up in life, and make a man of you, 
although the expense to the parish is three 
pound ten ! — three pound ten, Oliver ! — seventy 
shillings ! — one hundred and forty sixpences ! — 
and all for a naughty orphan which nobody can't 

As Mr. Bumble paused to take breath after 
delivering this address in an awful voice, the 
tears rolled down the poor child's face, and he 
sobbed bitterly. 

" Come," said Mr. Bumble, somewhat less 
pompously, for it was gratifying to his feelings 
to observe the effect his eloquence had produced, 
" come, Oliver, wipe your eyes with the cuffs 
of your jacket, and don't cry into your gruel ; 
that's a very foolish action, Oliver." It cer- 
tainly was, for there was quite enough water in 
it already. 

On their way to the magistrate's, Mr. Bumble 


instructed Oliver that all he would have to do, 
would be to look very happy, and say, when 
the gentleman asked him if he wanted to be 
apprenticed, that he should like it very much 
indeed; both of which injunctions Oliver pro- 
mised to obey, the rather as Mr. Bumble threw 
in a gentle hint, that if he failed in either 
particular, there was no telling what would be 
done to him. When they arrived at the office, 
he was shut up in a little room by himself, and 
admonished by Mr. Bumble to stay there until 
he came back to fetch him. 

There the boy remained with a palpitating 
heart for half an hour, at the expiration of 
which time Mr. Bumble thrust in his head, 
unadorned with the cocked hat, and said aloud, 

" Now, Oliver, my dear, come to the gentle- 
man." As Mr. Bumble said this, he put on a 
grim and threatening look, and added in a low 
voice, " Mind what I told you, you young 

Oliver stared innocently in Mr. Bumble's face 
at this somewhat contradictory style of address ; 
but that gentleman prevented his offering any 


remark thereupon, by leading liim at once into 
an adjoining room, the door of which was open. 
It was a large room with a great window ; and 
behind a desk sat two old gentlemen with pow- 
dered heads, one of whom was reading the 
newspaper, while the other was perusing, with 
the aid of a pair of tortoise-shell spectacles, a 
small piece of parchment which lay before him* 
Mr. Limbkins was standing in front of the desk 
on one side, and Mr. Gamfield, with a partially 
washed face, on the other, while two or three 
bluff-looking men in top-boots were lounging 

The old gentleman with the spectacles gra- 
dually dozed off over the little bit of parch- 
ment, and there was a short pause, after Oliver 
had been stationed by Mr. Bumble in front of 
the desk. 

" This is the boy, your worship," said Mr 

The old gentleman who was reading the 
newspaper, raised his head for a moment, and 
pulled the other old gentleman by the sleeve, 
whereupon the last-mentioned old gentleman 
woke up. 


" Oh, is this the boy?" said the old gentle- 

" This is him, sir," replied Mr. Bumble. 
" Bow to the magistrate, my dear." 

Oliver roused himself, and made his best 
obeisance. He had been wondering, with his 
eyes fixed on the magistrates'* powder, whether 
all boards were born with that white stuff on 
their heads, and were boards from thenceforth 
on that account. 

'' Well," said the old gentleman, " I suppose 
he ""s fond of chimney-sweeping ? " 

" He dotes on it, your worship," replied 
Bumble, giving Oliver a sly pinch, to intimate 
that he had better not say he didn't. 

" And he will be a sweep, will he ?" in- 
quired the old gentleman. 

'* If we was to bind him to any other trade 
to-morrow, he 'd run away simultaneously, your 
worship," replied Bumble. 

'' And this man that 's to be his master, — 
you, sir, — you 11 treat him well, and feed him, 
and do all that sort of thing, — will you.^" said 
the old gentleman. 


" When I says I will, I means I will," re- 
plied Mr. Gamfield doggedly. 

" You 're a rough speaker, my friend, but 
you look an honest, open-hearted man," said the 
old gentleman, turning his spectacles in the di- 
rection of the candidate for Oliver's premium, 
whose villanous countenance was a regular 
stamped receipt for cruelty. But the magis- 
trate was half blind and half childish, so he 
couldn't reasonably be expected to discern what 
other people did. 

" I hope I am, sir," said Mr. Gamfield with 
an ugly leer. 

*'' I have no doubt you are, my friend," re- 
plied the old gentleman, fixing his spectacles 
more firmly on his nose, and looking about him 
for the inkstand. 

It was the critical moment of Oliver's fate. 
If the inkstand had been where the old gentle- 
man thought it was, he would have dipped his 
pen into it and signed the indentures, and Oli- 
ver would have been straightway hurried off. 
But as it chanced to be immediately under his 
nose, it followed as a matter of course that he 


looked all over his desk for it, without finding 
it ; and happening in the course of this search 
to look straight before him, his gaze encounter- 
ed the pale and terrified face of Oliver Twist, 
who, despite all the admonitory looks and 
pinches of Bumble, was regarding the very re- 
pulsive countenance of his future master with 
a mingled expression of horror and fear, too 
palpable to be mistaken even by a half-blind 

The old gentleman stopped, laid down his 
pen, and looked from Oliver to Mr. Limbkins, 
who attempted to take snuff with a cheerful 
and unconcerned aspect. 

" My boy," said the old gentleman, leaning- 
over the desk. Oliver started at the sound, — 
he might be excused for doing so, for the words 
were kindly said, and strange sounds frighten 
one. He trembled violently, and burst into 

" My boy,''"' said the old gentleman, '' you 
look pale and alarmed. What is the matter?" 

" Stand a little away from him, beadle," said 
the other magistrate, laying aside the paper. 


and leaning forward with an expression of inte- 
rest. " Now, boy, tell us what 's the matter : 
don't be afraid." 

Oliver fell on his knees, and, clasping his 
hands together, prayed that they would order 
him back to the dark room, — that they would 
starve him — beat him — kill him if they pleased 
— rather than send him away with that dread- 
ful man. 

'' Well ! " said Mr. Bumble, raising his hands 
and eyes with most impressive solemnity, — 
" Well ! of all the artful and designing orphans 
that ever I see, Oliver, you are one of the most 

" Hold your tongue, beadle," said the second 
old gentleman, when Mr. Bumble had given 
vent to this compound adjective. 

"- I beg your worship's pardon," said Mr. 
Bumble, incredulous of his having heard aright, 
— " did your worship speak to me ?" 

" Yes — hold your tongue." 
Mr. Bumble was stupified with astonish- 
ment. A beadle ordered to hold his tongue ! 
A moral revolution ! 

C^^y-^^y ^^^€:ad^ /^y^z^ ^^:^.iJ^.^^^^^.?%^^ .^^ /^^. ^y^^^. 



The old gentleman in the tortoise-shell spec- 
tacles looked at his companion ; he nodded sig- 

" We refuse to sanction these indentures," 
said the old gentleman, tossing aside the piece 
of parchment as he spoke. 

" I hope," stammered Mr. Limbkins, — " I 
hope the magistrates will not form the opinion 
that the authorities have been guilty of any 
improper conduct, on the unsupported testi- 
mony of a mere child." 

" The magistrates are not called upon to pro- 
nounce any opinion on the matter," said the 
second old gentleman sharply. " Take the boy 
back to the workhouse, and treat him kindly. 
He seems to want it." 

That same evening the gentleman in the 
white waistcoat most positively and decidedly 
affirmed, not only that Oliver would be hung, 
but that he would be drawn and quartered 
into the bargain. Mr. Bumble shook his head 
with gloomy mystery, and said he wished he 
might come to good; whereunto Mr. Gamfield 
replied, that he wished he might come to him, 

VOL. I. D 


which, although he agreed with the beadle in 
most matters, would seem to be a wish of a 
totally opposite description. 

The next morning the public were once more 
informed that Oliver Twist was again to let, 
and that five pounds would be paid to anybody 
who would take possession of him. 




In great families, when an advantageous 
place cannot be obtained, either in possession, 
reversion, remainder, or expectancy, for the 
young man who is growing up, it is a very 
general custom to send him to sea. The board, 
in imitation of so wise and salutary an exam- 
ple, took counsel together on the expediency of 
shipping off Oliver Twist in some small trading 
vessel bound to a good unhealthy port, which 
suggested itself as the very best thing that could 
possibly be done with him ; the probability 
being, that the skipper would either flog him to 
death in a playful mood some day after dinner, 
or knock his brains out with an iron bar, — both 
pastimes being, as is pretty generally known, 



very favourite and common recreations among 
gentlemen of that class. The more the case 
presented itself to the board in this point of 
view, the more manifold the advantages of the 
step appeared ; so they came to the conclusion, 
that the only way of providing for Oliver effec- 
tually, was to send him to sea without delay. 

Mr. Bumble had been despatched to make 
various preliminary inquiries, with the view of 
linding out some captain or other who wanted a 
cabin-boy without any friends ; and was return- 
ing to the workhouse to communicate the result 
of his mission, when he encountered just at the 
gate no less a person than Mr. Sowerberry, 
the parochial undertaker. 

Mr. Sowerberry was a tall, gaunt, large-jointed 
man, attired in a suit of thread-bare black, with 
darned cotton stockings of the same colour, and 
shoes to answer. His features were not natu- 
rally intended to wear a smiling asj^ect, but he 
was in general rather given to j^rofessional joco- 
sity ; his step was elastic, and his face betoken- 
ed inward pleasantry, as he advanced to Mr. 
Bumble and shook him cordially by the hand. 


'*' I have taken the measure of the two wo- 
men that died last night, Mr. Bumble," said 
the undertaker. 

'• You 11 make your fortune, Mr. Sower- 
berry," said the beadle, as he thrust his thumb 
and forefinger into the proffered snuff-box of the 
undertaker, which was an ingenious little model 
of a patent coffin. " I say you ""ll make your 
fortune, Mr. Sowerberry," repeated Mr. Bum- 
ble, tapping the undertaker on the shoulder in a 
friendly manner with his cane. 

" Think so?" said the undertaker in a tone 
which half admitted and half disputed the pro- 
bability of the event. " The prices allowed by 
the board are very small, Mr. Bumble." 

" So are the coffins," replied the beadle, with 
precisely as near an approach to a laugh as a 
great official ought to indulge in. 

Mr. Sowerberry was much tickled at this, as 
of course he ought to be, and laughed a long 
time without cessation. " Well, well, Mr. 
Bumble," he said at length, " there 's no deny- 
ing that, since the new system of feeding has 
come in, the coffins are something narrower and 


more shallow than they used to be ; but we 
must have some profit, Mr. Bumble. Well-sea- 
soned timber is an expensive article, sir ; and all 
the iron handles come by canal from Birming- 

•' Well, well," said Mr. Bumble, '' every 
trade has its drawbacks, and a fair profit is of 
course allowable." 

" Of course, of course," replied the under- 
taker ; " and if I don't get a profit upon this or 
that particular article, why, I make it up in the 
long run, you see — he ! he ! he I " 

" ,Tust so," said Mr. Bumble. 

" Though I must say," — continued the un- 
dertaker, resuming the current of observations 
which the beadle had interrupted, — " though I 
must say, Mr. Bumble, that I have to contend 
against one very great disadvantage, which is, 
that all the stout people go off the quickest — I 
mean that the people who have been better off, 
and have paid rates for many years, are the 
first to sink when they come into the house ; 
and let me tell you, Mr. Bumble, that three or 


four inches over one^s calculation makes a great 
hole in one's profits, especially when one has a 
family to provide for, sir." 

As Mr. Sowerberry said this, with the be- 
coming indignation of an ill-used man, and as 
Mr. Bumble felt that it rather tended to convey 
a reflection on the honour of the parish, the lat- 
ter gentleman thought it advisable to change 
the subject ; and Oliver Twist being uppermost 
in his mind, he made him his theme. 

" By the bye," said Mr. Bumble, " you 
don't know anybody who wants a boy, do you 
— a porochial 'prentis, who is at present a dead- 
weight — a millstone, as I may say — round the 
porochial throat? Liberal terms, Mr. Sower- 
berry— liberal terms;" — and, as Mr. Bumble 
spoke, he raised his cane to the bill above him, 
and gave three distinct raps upon the words 
" five pounds," which were printed thereon in 
Roman capitals of gigantic size. 

" Gadso!" said the undertaker, taking Mr. 
Bumble by the gilt-edged lappel of his official 
coat ; " that 's just the very thing I wanted to 


speak to you about. You know — dear me, 
what a very elegant button this is, Mr. Bumble ; 
I never noticed it before."" 

" Yes, I think it is rather pretty," said the 
beadle, glancing proudly downwards at the large 
brass buttons which embellished his coat. " The 
die is the same as the porochial seal, — the Good 
Samaritan healing the sick and bruised man. 
The board presented it to me on New-year's 
morning, Mr. Sowerberry. I put it on, I re- 
member, for the first time, to attend the in- 
quest on that reduced tradesman who died in a 
doorway at midnight." 

" I recollect," said the undertaker. *' The 
jury brought in, ' Died from exposure to the 
cold, and want of the common necessaries of 
Hfe,^— didn't they?" 

Mr. Bumble nodded. 

" And they made it a special verdict, I 
think," said the undertaker, " by adding some 
words to the effect, that if the relieving officer 
had " 

"Tush — foolery!" interposed the beadle 
angrily. " If the board attended to all the 


nonsense that ignorant jurymen talk, they'd 
have enough to do." 

a Very true," said the undertaker ; '' they 
would indeed." 

" Juries," said Mr. Bumble, grasping his 
cane tightly, as was his wont when working 
into a passion, — "juries is ineddicated, vulgar, 
grovelling wretches." 

" So they are," said the undertaker. 

'' They haven't no more philosophy nor poli- 
tical economy about 'em than that," said the 
beadle, snapping his fingers contemptuously. 

" No more they have," acquiesced the under- 

" I despise 'em," said the beadle, growing 
very red in the face. 

" So do I," rejoined the undertaker. 

" And I only wish we'd a jury of the inde- 
pendent sort in the house for a week or two," 
said the beadle ; " the rules and regulations of 
the board would soon bring their spirit down 
for them." 

" Let 'em alone for that," replied the un- 
dertaker. So saying, he smiled approvingly to 



calm the rising wrath of the indignant parish 

Mr. Bumble lifted off his cocked hat, took a 
handkerchief from the inside of the crown, 
wiped from his forehead the perspiration which 
his rage had engendered, fixed th-e cocked hat 
on again ; and, turning to the undertaker, said 
in a calmer voice, 

" Well ; what about the boy ?" 

" Oh !" replied the undertaker; *' why, you 
know, Mr. Bumble, I pay a good deal towards 
the poor's rates." 

" Hem !" said Mr. Bumble. " Well ?" 

" Well/' replied the undertaker, " I was 
thinking that if I pay so much towards 'em, 
I Ve a riglit to get as much out of 'em as I can, 
Mr. Bumble ; and so — and go — I think I '11 take 
the boy myself." 

Mr. Bumble grasped the undertaker by the 
arm, and led him into the building. Mr. Sow- 
erberry was closeted with the board for five 
minutes, and it was arranged that Oliver 
should go to him tliat evening '' upon liking," 


— a phrase which means, in the case of a parish 
apprentice, that if the master find, upon a short 
trial, that he can get enough work out of a 
boy without putting too much food in him, he 
shall have him for a term of years, to do what 
he likes with. 

When little Oliver was taken before " the 
gentlemen" that evening, and informed that 
he was to go that night as general house-lad to 
a coffin-maker's, and that if he complained of 
his situation, or ever came back to the parish 
again, he would be sent to sea, there to be 
drowned, or knocked on the head, as the case 
might be, he evinced so little emotion, that they 
by common consent pronounced him a hardened 
young rascal, and ordered Mr. Bumble to re- 
move him forthwith. 

Now, although it was very natural that the 
board, of all people in the world, should feel 
in a great state of virtuous astonishment and 
horror at the smallest tokens of want of feeling 
on the part of anybody, they were rather out 
in this particular instance. The simple fact 


was, that Oliver, instead of possessing too little 
feeling, possessed rather too much, and was in a 
fair way of being reduced to a state of brutal 
stupidity and sullenness for life by the ill usage 
he had received. He heard the news of his 
destination in perfect silence, and, having had 
his luggage put into his hand, — which was not 
very difficult to carry, inasmuch as it was all 
comprised within the limits of a brown paper 
parcel, about half a foot square by three inches 
deep, — he pulled his cap over his eyes, and once 
more attaching himself to Mr. Bumble's coat 
cuiF, was led away by that dignitary to a new 
scene of suifering. 

For some time Mr. Bumble drew Oliver 
along without notice or remark, for the beadle 
carried his head very erect, as a beadle always 
should ; and, it being a windy day, little Oliver 
was completely enshrouded by the skirts of Mr. 
Bumble''s coat as they blew open, and disclosed 
to great advantage his flapped waistcoat and 
drab plush knee-breeches. As they drew near 
to their destination, however, Mr. Bumble 


thought it expedient to look down and see that 
the boy was in good order for inspection by his 
new master, which he accordingly did, with a 
fit and becoming air of gracious patronage. 

" Oliver !'' said Mr. Bumble. 

" Yes, sir," replied Oliver, in a low, tre- 
mulous voice. 

" Pull that cap off of your eyes, and hold up 
your head, sir." 

Although Oliver did as he was desired at 
once, and passed the back of his unoccupied 
hand briskly across his eyes, he left a tear in 
them when he looked up at his conductor. As 
Mr. Bumble gazed sternly upon him, it rolled 
down his cheek. It was followed by another, 
and another. The child made a strong effort, 
but it was an unsuccessful one ; and, withdraw- 
ing his other hand from Mr. Bumble's, he 
covered his face with both, and wept till the 
tears sprung out from between his thin and 
bony fingerSo 

" Well ! " ex(daimed Mr. Bumble, stopping 
short, and darting at his little charge a look of 


intense malignity, — '* well, of all the ungrate- 
fullest and worst-disposed boys as ever I see, 
Oliver, you are the " 

" No, no, sir,*' sobbed Oliver, clinging to the 
hand which held the well-known cane ; *' no, 
no, sir ; I will be good indeed ; indeed, indeed 
I will, sir ! I am a very little boy, sir ; and it 
is so — so — " 

*' So what ?" inquired Mr. Bumble in amaze- 

" So lonely, sir — so very lonely,"" cried the 
child. " Everybody hates me. Oh ! sir, don't, 
don't pray be cross to me." The child beat 
his hand upon his heart, and looked into his 
companion's face with tears of real agony, 

Mr. Bumble regarded Oliver's piteous and 
helpless look with some astonishment for a few 
seconds, hemmed three or four times in a husky 
manner, and, after muttering something about 
" that troublesome cough," bid Oliver dry his 
eyes and be a good boy ; and, once more taking 
his hand, walked on with him in silence. 

The undertaker had just put up the shutters 
of his shop, and was making some entries in his 


day-book by the light of a most appropriately 
dismal candle, when Mr. Bumble entered. 

" Aha ! " said the undertaker, looking up 
from the book, and pausing in the middle of a 
word ; " is that you, Bumble ?" 

" No one else, Mr. Sowerberry," replied the 
beadle. " Heve, IVe brought the boy." Oli- 
ver made a bow. 

" Oh ! that 's the boy, is it ? " said the under- 
taker, raising the candle above his head to get 
a full glimpse of Oliver. " Mrs. Sowerberry f 
will you come here a moment, my dear ? " 

Mrs. Sowerberry emerged from a little room 
behind the shop, and presented the form of a 
short, thin, squeezed-up woman, with a vixenish 

" My dear," said Mr. Sowerberry, deferenti- 
ally, " this is the boy from the workhouse that 
I told you of." Oliver bowed again. 

"Dear me!" said the undertaker's wife, 
" he \s very small." 

" Why, he is rather small," replied Mr. 
Bumble, looking at Oliver as if it were his fault 
that he was no bigger ; "he is small, — there 'j? 


no denying it. But he 11 grow, Mrs. Sower- 
berry, — he '11 grow." 

" Ah ! I dare say he will," replied the lady 
pettishly, "on our victuals and our drink. I see 
no saving in parish children, not I ; for they 
always cost more to keep than they 're worth : 
however, men always think they know best. 
There, get down stairs, little bag o"* bones." 
With this, the undertaker's wife opened a side 
door, and pushed Oliver down a steep flight of 
stairs into a stone cell, damp and dark, forming 
the ante-room to the coal-cellar, and denomi- 
nated " the kitchen," wherein sat a slatternly 
girl in shoes down at heel, and blue worsted 
stockings very much out of repair. 

" Here, Charlotte," said Mrs. Sowerberry, 
who had followed Oliver down, " give this boy 
some of the cold bits that were put by for Trip : 
he hasn't come home since the morning, so he 
may go without 'em. I dare say he isn't too 
dainty to eat 'em, — are you, boy?" 

Oliver, whose eyes had glistened at the men- 
tion of meat, and who was trembling with 
eagerness to devour it, replied in the negative ; 


and a plateful of coarse broken victuals was 
set before him. 

I wish some well-fed philosopher, whose 
meat and drink turn to gall within him, whose 
blood is ice, and whose heart is iron, could have 
seen Oliver Twist clutching* at the dainty 
viands that the dog had neglected, and wit- 
nessed the horrible avidity with which he tore 
the bits asunder with all the ferocity of famine : 
— there is only one thing I should like better, 
and that would be to see him making the same 
sort of meal himself, with the same relish. 

" Well," said the undertaker's wife, when 
Oliver had finished his supper, which she had 
regarded in silent horror, and with fearful 
auguries of his future appetite, " have you 

There being nothing eatable within his reach, 
Oliver replied in the affirmative. 

" Then come with me," said Mrs. Sower- 
berry, taking up a dim and dirty lamp, and 
leading the way up stairs ; " your bed 's under 
the counter. You won't mind sleeping among 
the coffins, I suppose ? — but it doesn't much 


matter whether you will or not, for you won't 
sleep anywhere else. Come ; don't keep me 
here all night.'' 

Oliver hngered no longer, but meekly follow- 
ed his new mistress. 




Oliver, being left to himself in the under- 
taker's shop, set the lamp down on a workman's 
bench, and gazed timidly about him with a feel- 
ing of awe and dread, which many people a 
good deal older than he was will be at no loss to 
understand. An unfinished coffin on black tres- 
sels, which stood in the middle of the shop, 
looked so gloomy and death-like that a cold 
tremble came over him every time his eyes 
wandered in the direction of the dismal object, 
from which he almost expected to see some 
frightful form slowly rear its head to drive him 
mad with terror. Against the wall were ranged 
in regular array a long row of elm boards cut 


into the same shape, and looking in the dim 
light like high-shouldered ghosts with their 
hands in their breeches-pockets. Coffin-plates, 
elm-chips, bright-headed nails, and shreds of 
black cloth, lay scattered on the floor ; and the 
wall behind the comiter was ornamented with a 
lively representation of two mutes in very stiff 
neckcloths, on duty at a large private door, 
with a hearse drawn by four black steeds ap- 
proaching in the distance. The shop was close 
and hot, and the atmosphere seemed tainted 
with the smell of coffins. The recess beneath 
the counter in which his flock mattress was 
thrust, looked like a grave. 

Nor were these the only dismal feelings 
which depressed Oliver. He was alone in a 
strange place ; and we all know how chilled and 
desolate the best of us will sometimes feel in 
such a situation. The boy had no friends to 
care for, or to care for him. The regret of no 
recent separation was fresh in his mind ; the 
absence of no loved and well-remembered face 
sunk heavily into his heart. But his heart was 
heavy, notwithstanding; and he wished, as he 


crept into his narrow bed, that that were his 
coffin, and that he could be laid in a cahn and 
lasting sleep in the churchyard ground, with the 
tall grass waving gently above his head, and the 
sound of the old deep bell to soothe him in his 

Oliver was awakened in the morning by a 
loud kicking' at the outside of the shop-door, 
which, before he could huddle on his clothes, 
was repeated in an angry and impetuous manner 
about twenty-five times ; and, when he began to 
undo the chain, the legs left off their volleys, 
and a voice began. 

" Open the door, will yer?" cried the voice 
which belonged to the legs which had kicked at 
the door. 

" I will directly, sir," repHed Oliver, undoing 
the chain, and turning the key. 

" I suppose yer the new boy, a'n't yer?" 
said the voice, through the key-hole. 

" Yes, sir," replied Oliver. 

'' How old are yer?" inquired the voice. 

" Ten, sir," replied Oliver. 

" Then Pll whop yer when I get in," said 


the voice ; " you just see if I don't, that's all, 
my work'us brat ! "" and having made this obli- 
ging promise, the voice began to whistle. 

Oliver had been too often subjected to the 
process to which the very expressive monosylla- 
ble just recorded, bears reference, to entertain 
the smallest doubt that the owner of the voice, 
whoever he might be, would redeem his pledge 
most honourably. He drew back the bolts 
with a trembling hand, and opened the door. 

For a second or two Oliver glanced up the 
street, and down the street, and over the way, 
impressed with the belief that the unknown, 
who had addressed him through the key-hole, 
had walked a few paces off to warm himself, 
for nobody did he see but a big charity-boy 
sitting on a post in front of the house, eating 
a slice of bread and butter, which he cut into 
wedges, the size of his mouth, with a clasp-knife J 
and then consumed with great dexterity. 

" I beg your pardon, sir," said Oliver, at 
length : seeing that no other visitor made his 
appearance ; " did you knock ?'' 

" I lucked," replied the charity-boy. 


" Did you want a cofHn, sir ? " inquired Oli- 
ver, innocently. 

At this the charity-boy looked monstrous 
fierce, and said that Oliver would stand in need 
of one before long, if he cut jokes with his su- 
periors in that way. 

" Yer don't know who I am, I suppose, 
Work'us?" said the charity-boy, in continua- 
tion ; descending from the top of the post, mean- 
while, with edifying gravity. 

" No, sir," rejoined Oliver. 

^' I 'm Mister Noah Claypole," said the cha- 
rity-boy, " and you 're under me. Take down 
the shutters, yer idle young ruifian ! " With 
this, Mr. Claypole administered a kick to Oliver, 
and entered the shop with a dignified air, which 
did him great credit. It is difficult for a large- 
headed, small-eyed youth, of lumbering make 
and heavy countenance, to look dignified under 
any circumstances ; but it is more especially so, 
when superadded to these personal attractions, 
are a red nose and yellow smalls. 

Oliver having taken down the shutters, and 
broken a pane of glass in his efforts to stagger 


away beneath the weight of the first one to a 
small court at the side of the house in which 
thej were kept during the day, was graciously 
assisted by Noah, who, having consoled him 
with the assurance that " he 'd catch it," con- 
descended to help him. Mr. SoWerberry came 
down soon after, and, shortly afterwards, 
Mrs. Sowerberry appeared ; and Oliver having 
'' caught it," in fulfilment of Noah's prediction, 
followed that young gentleman down stairs to 

" Come near the fire, Noah," said Charlotte. 
" I saved a nice little piece of bacon for you 
from master's breakfast. Oliver, shut that 
door at Mister Noah's back, and take them bits 
that I Ve put out on the cover of the bread-pan. 
There 's your tea ; take it away to that box, 
and drink it there, and make haste, for they '11 
want you to mind the shop. D' ye hear?" 

" D'ye hear, Work'us .^" said Noah Claypole. 

" Lo]-, Noah ! " said Charlotte, " what a rum 
creature you are ! Why don't you let the boy 

*' Let him alone!" said Noah. "Why 


everybody lets him alone enough, for the mat- 
ter of that. Neither his father nor mother 
will ever interfere with him : all his relations 
let him have his own way pretty well. Eh, 
Charlotte.? He ! he ! he!" 

" Oh, you queer soul ! " said Charlotte, burst- 
ing into a hearty laugh, in which she was joined 
by Noah ; after which they both looked scorn- 
fully at poor Oliver Twist, as he sat shivering 
upon the box in the coldest corner of the room, 
and ate the stale pieces which had been spe- 
cially reserved for him. 

Noah was a charity-boy, but not a work- 
house orphan. No chance-child was he, for he 
could trace his genealogy all the way back to 
his parents, who lived hard by; his mother 
being a washerwoman, and his father a drunken 
soldier, discharged with a wooden leg and a 
diurnal pension of twopence-halfpenny and an 
unstateable fraction. The shop-boys in the 
neighbourhood had long been in the habit of 
branding Noah in the public streets with the 
ignominious epithets of " leathers,''' " charity,'' 

VOL. I. E 


and the like ; and Noah had borne them with- 
out reply. But now that fortune had cast in 
his way a nameless orphan, at whom even the 
meanest could point the finger of scorn, he re- 
torted on him with interest. This aifords 
charming food for contemplation. It shows 
us what a beautiful thing human nature some- 
times is, and how impartially the same ami- 
able qualities are developed in the finest 
lord and the dirtiest charity-boy. 

Oliver had been sojourning at the under- 
taker''s some three weeks or a month, and Mr. 
and Mrs. Sowerberry, the shop being shut up, 
were taking their supper in the little back-par- 
lour, when Mr. Sowerberry, after several defe- 
rential glances at his wife, said, 

" My dear — " He was going to say more ; 
but, Mrs. Sowerberry looking up with a pecu- 
liarly unpropitious aspect, he stopped short. 

" Well !" said Mrs. Sowerberry, sharply. 
'' Nothing, my dear, nothing," said Mr. 

" Ugh, you brute !" said Mrs. Sowerberry. 

" Not at all, my dear,'' said Mr. Sowerberry 


humbly. '' I thought you didn't want to hear, 
my dear. I was only going to say " 

" Oh, don 't tell me what you were going 
to say,"" interposed Mrs. Sowerberry. " I 
am nobody ; don't consult me, pray. / don't 
want to intrude upon your secrets." And, as 
Mrs. Sowerberry said this, she gave an hys- 
terical laugh, which threatened violent conse- 

" But, my dear," said Sowerberry, " I want 
to ask your advice." 

*' No, no, don't ask mine," replied Mrs. 
Sowerberry, in an aiFecting manner ; " ask 
somebody else's. Here there was another 
hysterical laugh, which frightened Mr. Sower- 
berry very much. This is a very common and 
much-approved matrimonial course of treatment, 
which is often very effective. It at once re- 
duced Mr. Sowerberry to begging as a special 
favour to be allowed to say what Mrs. Sower- 
berry was most curious to hear, and, after a 
short altercation of less than three quarters of 
an hour's duration, the permission was most 
graciously conceded, 

E S 


" It's only about young Twist, my dear,"" 
said Mr. Sowerberry. " A very good-looking 
boy that, my dear." 

" He need be, for he eats enough," observed 
the lady. 

" There's an expression of melancholy in 
his face, my dear," resumed Mr. Sowerberry, 
" which is very interesting. He would make 
a delightful mute, my dear." 

Mrs. Sowerberry looked up with an expres- 
sion of considerable wonderment. Mr. Sower- 
berry remarked it, and, without allowing time 
for any observation on the good lady's part, 

" I don't mean a regular mute to attend 
grown-up people, my dear, but only for chil- 
dren's practice. It would be very new to have 
a mute in proportion, my dear. You may de- 
pend upon it that it would have a superb 

Mrs. Sowerberry, who had a good deal of 
taste in the undertaking way, was much struck 
by the novelty of this idea ; but, as it would 
have been compromising her dignity to have 


said so under existing circumstances, she merely 
inquired with much sharpness why such an ob- 
vious suggestion had not presented itself to her 
husband's mind before. Mr. Sowerberry right- 
ly construed this as an acquiescence in his pro- 
position ; it was speedily determined that Oliver 
should be at once initiated into the mysteries 
of the profession, and, with this view, that he 
should accompany his master on the very next 
occasion of his services being required. 

The occasion was not long in coming ; for, 
half an hour after breakfast next morning, Mr. 
Bumble entered the shop, and supporting his 
cane against the counter, drew forth his large 
leathern pocket-book, from which he selected a 
small scrap of paper, which he handed over to 

" Aha ! " said the undertaker, glancing over 
it with a lively countenance ; "an order for a 
coffin, eh?" 

" For a coffin first, and a porochial funeral 
afterwards," replied Mr. Bumble, fastening the 
strap of the leathern pocket-book, which, like 
himself, was very corpulent. 


" Bayton," said the undertaker, looking from 
the scrap of paper to Mr. Bumble ; '' I never 
heard the name before.*" 

Bumble shook his head as he replied, " Ob- 
stinate people, Mr. Sowerberrj, very obstinate ; 
proud, too, I 'm afraid, sir." 

" Proud, eh ? " exclaimed Mr. Sowerberry 
with a sneer. — " Come, that 's too much."*"* 

" Oh, it's sickening," replied the beadle ; 
" perfectly antimonial, Mr. Sowerberry." 

" So it is," acquiesced the undertaker. 

" We only heard of them the night before 
last," said the beadle ; " and we shouldn't have 
known anything about them then, only a wo- 
man who lodges in the same house made an ap- 
plication to the porochial committee for them to 
send the porochial surgeon to see a woman as 
was very bad. He had gone out to dinner; 
but his 'prentice, which is a very clever lad, sent 
'em some medicine in a blacking-bottle, off- 

" Ah, there 's promptness," said the under- 

'' Promptness, indeed ! " replied the beadle. 


" But what 's the consequence ; what ""s the un- 
grateful behaviour of these rebels, sir ? Why, 
the husband sends back word that the medicine 
won'*t suit his wife's complaint, and so she 
shan'*t take it — says she shan't take it, sir. 
Good, strong, wholesome medicine, as was given 
with great success to two Irish labourers and 
a coalheaver only a week before — sent 'em for 
nothing, with a blackin-bottle in, — and he sends 
back word that she shan't take it, sir." 

As the flagrant atrocity presented itself to 
Mr. Bumble's mind in full force, he struck the 
counter sharply with his cane, and became 
flushed with indignation. 

" Well," said the undertaker, " I ne — ver — 
did " 

" Never did, sir ! " ejaculated the beadle, — 
" no, nor nobody never did ; but, now she 's 
dead, we 've got to bury her, and that 's the 
direction, and the sooner it 's done the better." 

Thus saying, Mr. Bumble put on his cocked 
hat wrong side first, in a fever of parochial 
excitement, and flounced out of the shop. 

" Why, he was so angry, Oliver, that he for- 


got even to ask after you," said Mr. Sowerberry, 
looking after the beadle as he strode down the 

" Yes, sir," replied Oliver, who had carefully 
kept himself out of sight during the interview, 
and who was shaking from head to foot at the 
mere recollection of the sound of Mr. Bumble^s 
voice. He needn't have taken the trouble to 
shrink from Mr. Bumble"'s glance, however ; for 
that functionary, on whom the prediction of the 
gentleman in the white waistcoat had made a 
very strong impression, thought that now the 
undertaker had got Oliver upon trial, the sub- 
ject was better avoided, until such time as he 
should be firmly bound for seven years, and all 
danger of his being returned upon the hands of 
the parish should be thus effectually and legally 

" Well," said Mr. Sowerberry, taking up his 
hat, " the sooner this job is done the better. 
Noah, look after the shop. Oliver, put on your 
cap, and come with me." Oliver obeyed, and 
followed his master on his professional mission. 

They walked on for some time through the 


most crowded and densely inhabited part of the 
town, and then striking down a narrow street 
more dirty and miserable than any they had 
yet passed through, paused to look for the house 
which was the object of their search. The houses 
on either side were high and large, but very old, 
and tenanted by people of the poorest class, as 
their neglected appearance would have suffici- 
ently denoted without the concurrent testimony 
afforded by the squalid looks of the few men 
and women who, with folded arms and bodies 
half doubled, occasionally skulked along. A 
great many of the tenements had shop-fronts ; 
but they were fast closed, and mouldering 
away: only the upper rooms being inhabited. 
Others, which had become insecure from age 
and decay, were prevented from falling into 
the street by huge beams of wood which were 
reared against the walls, and firmly plant- 
ed in the road ; but even these crazy dens 
seemed to have been selected as the nightly 
haunts of some houseless wretches, for many 
of the rough boards which supplied the place of 
door and window, were wrenched from their 

E 5 


positions to aiFord an aperture wide enough for 
the passage of a human body. The kennel was 
stagnant and filthy ; the very rats which here 
and there lay putrefying in its rottenness, were 
hideous with famine. 

There was neither knocker nor bell -handle 
at the open door where Oliver and his master 
stopped ; so, groping his way cautiously through 
the dark passage, and bidding Oliver keep close 
to him and not be afraid, the undertaker mount- 
ed to the top of the first flight of stairs, and, 
stumbling against a door on the landing, rapped 
at it with his knuckles. 

It was oiDened by a young girl of thirteen or 
fourteen. The undertaker at once saw enough 
of what the room contained, to know it was the 
apartment to which he had been directed. He 
stepped in, and Oliver followed him. 

There was no fire in the room ; but a man 
was crouching mechanically over the empty 
stove. An old woman, too, had drawn a low 
stool to the cold hearth, and was sitting beside 
him. There were some ragged children in 
another corner ; and in a small recess opposite 


the door there lay upon the ground something 
covered with an old blanket. Oliver shuddered 
as he cast his eyes towards the place, and 
crept involuntarily closer to his master ; for 
though it was covered up, the hoy felt that it 
was a corpse. 

The man's face was thin and very pale ; his 
hair and beard were grizzly, and his eyes were 
bloodshot. The old woman**s face was wrinkled, 
her two remaining teeth protruded over her 
under lip, and her eyes were bright and pier- 
cing. Oliver was afraid to look at either her or 
the man, — they seemed so like the rats he had 
seen outside. 

" Nobody shall go near her,'*' said the man, 
starting fiercely up, as the undertaker approach- 
ed the recess. " Keep back ! d — n you, keep 
back, if you Ve a life to lose.'' 

" Nonsense ! my good man," said the under- 
taker, who was pretty well used to misery in 
all its shapes, — " nonsense ! " 

" I tell you," said the man, clenching his 
hands, and stamping furiously on the floor, — 
" I tell you I won't have her put into the 


ground. She couldn't rest there. The worms 
would worry — not eat her,-^— she is so worn 

The undertaker offered no reply to this 
raving, but producing a tape from his pocket, 
knelt down for a moment by the side of the 

"Ah!"*' said the man, bursting into tears, 
and sinking on his knees at the feet of the dead 
woman ; " kneel down, kneel down — kneel 
round her every one of you, and mark my 
words. I say she was starved to death. I never 
knew how bad she was till the fever came upon 
her, and then her bones were starting through 
the skin. There was neither fire nor candle ; 
she died in the dark — in the dark. She couldn't 
even see her children s faces, though we heard 
her gasping out their names. I begged for her 
in the streets, and they sent me to prison. 
When I came back, she was dying ; and all the 
blood in my heart has dried up, for they starved 
her to death. T swear it before the God that 
saw it, — they starved her ! " — He twined his 
hands in his hair, and with a loud scream rolled 


grovelling upon the floor, his eyes fixed, and the 
foam gushing from his lips. 

The terrified children cried bitterly ; but the 
old woman, who had hitherto remained as quiet 
as if she had been wholly deaf to all that pass- 
ed, menaced them into silence, and having 
unloosened the man's cravat, who still remained 
extended on the ground, tottered towards the 

" She was my daughter,"*' said the old woman, 
nodding her head in the direction of the corpse, 
and speaking with an idiotic leer, more ghastly 
than even the presence of death itself. — " Lord, 
Lord ! — well, it is strange that I who gave birth 
to her, and was a woman then, should be alive 
and merry now, and she lying there so cold and 
stiff! Lord, Lord! — to think of it; — it's as 
good as a play — as good as a play ! " 

As the wretched creature mumbled and 
chuckled in her hideous merriment, the under- 
taker turned to go away. 

*•' Stop, stop !" said the old woman in a loud 
whisper. " Will she be buried to-morrow — or 
next day — or to-night ? I laid her out, and I 


must walk, you know. Send me a large cloak 
— a good warm one, for it is bitter cold. We 
should have cake and wine, too, before we go ! 
Never mind : send some bread — only a loaf of 
bread and a cup of water. Shall we have some 
bread, dear ? " she said eagerly, catching at the 
undertaker's coat, as he once more moved 
towards the door. 

" Yes, yes," said the undertaker, " of course ; 
anything, everything." He disengaged himself 
from the old woman's grasp, and, dragging 
Oliver after him, hurried away. 

The next day, (the family having been mean- 
while relieved with a half-quartern loaf and a 
piece of cheese, left with them by Mr. Bumble 
himself,) Oliver and his master returned to the 
miserable abode, where Mr. Bumble had already 
arrived, accompanied by four men from the 
workhouse, who were to act as bearers. An 
old black cloak had been thrown over the rags 
of the old woman and the man ; and the bare 
coffin having been screwed down, was hoisted on 
the shoulders of the bearers, and carried into 
the street. 


" Now, you must put your best leg foremost, 
old lady,'' whispered Sowerberry in the old wo- 
man's ear ; "we are rather late, and it won't do 
to keep the clergyman waiting. Move on, my 
men, — as quick as you like." 

Thus directed, the bearers trotted on under 
their light burden, and the two mourners kept 
as near them as they could. Mr. Bumble and 
Sowerberry walked at a good smart pace in 
front ; and Oliver, whose legs were not so long 
as his master's, ran by the side. 

There was not so great a necessity for hurry- 
ing as Mr. Sowerberry had anticipated, how- 
ever ; for when they reached the obscure corner 
of the churchyard in which the nettles grew, 
and the parish graves were made, the clergyman 
had not arrived, and the clerk, who was sitting 
by the vestry-room fire, seemed to think it by 
no means improbable that it might be an hour 
or so before he came. So they put the bier 
down on the brink of the grave ; and the two 
mourners waited patiently in the damp clay 
with a cold rain drizzling down, while the rag- 
ged boys, whom the spectacle had attracted into 


the churchyard, played a noisy game at hide- 
and-seek among the tombstones, or varied their 
amusements by jumping backwards and forwards 
over the coffin. Mr. Sowerberry and Bumble, 
being personal friends of the clerk, sat by the 
fire with him, and read the paper. 

At length, after the lapse of something more 
than an hour, Mr. Bumble, and Sowerberry, 
and the clerk, were seen running towards the 
grave ; and immediately afterwards the clergy- 
man appeared, putting on his surplice as he 
came along. Mr. Bumble then threshed a boy 
or two, to keep up appearances ; and the re- 
verend gentleman, having read as much of the 
burial service as could be compressed into four 
minutes, gave his surplice to the clerk, and ran 
away again. 

" Now, Bill," said Sowerberry to the grave- 
digger, " fill up." 

It was no very difficult task, for the grave 
was so full that the uppermost coffin was within 
a few feet of the surface. The grave-digger 
shovelled in the earth, stamped it loosely down 
with his feet, shouldered his spade, and walked 


off, followed by the boys, who murmured very 
loud complaints at the fun being over so 

" Come, my good fellow," said Bumble, tap- 
ping the man on the back, " they want to shut 
up the yard." 

The man, who had never once moved since 
he had taken his station by the grave side, 
started, raised his head, stared at the person 
who had addressed him, walked forward for a 
few paces, and fell down in a swoon. The 
crazy old woman was too much occupied in 
bewailing the loss of her cloak (which the un- 
dertaker had taken off) to pay him any atten- 
tion ; so they threw a can of cold water over 
him, and when he came to, saw him safely out 
of the churchyard, locked the gate, and depart- 
ed on their different ways. 

" Well, Oliver," said Sowerberry, as they 
walked home, '' how do you like it ?" 

" Pretty well, thank you, sir," replied Oli- 
ver, with considerable hesitation. " Not very 
much, sir." 

*' Ah, you '11 get used to it in time, Oliver," 


said Sowerberry. " Nothing wlien you art 
used to it, my boy." 

Oliver wondered in his own mind whether it 
had taken a very long time to get Mr. Sower- 
berry used to it ; but he thought it better not to 
ask the question, and walked back to the shop, 
thinking over all he had seen and" heard. 




The month's trial over, Oliver was formally 
apprenticed. It was a nice sickly season just 
at this time. In commercial phrase, coffins 
were looking up, and, in the course of a few 
weeks, Oliver had acquired a great deal of 
experience. The success of Mr. Sowerherry's 
ingenious speculation exceeded even his most 
sanguine hopes. The oldest inhabitants recol- 
lected no period at which measles had been so 
prevalent, or so fatal to infant existence ; and 
many were the mournful processions which little 
Oliver headed in a hat-band reaching down to 
his knees, to the indescribable admiration and 
emotion of all the mothers in the town. As 
Oliver accompanied his master in most of his 


adult expeditions too, in order that he might 
acquire that equanimity of demeanour and full 
command of nerve which are so essential to a 
finished undertaker, he had many opportunities 
of observing the beautiful resignation and for- 
titude with which some strong-minded people 
bear their trials and losses. 

For instance, when Sowerberry had an order 
for the burial of some rich old lady or gentle- 
man, who was surrounded by a great number of 
nephews and nieces, who had been perfectly 
inconsolable during the previous illness, and 
whose grief had been wholly irrepressible even 
on the most public occasions, they would be as 
happy among themselves as need be — quite 
clieerful and contented, conversing together 
with as much freedom and gaiety as if nothing 
whatever had happened to disturb them. Hus- 
bands, too, bore the loss of their wives with the 
most heroic calmness ; and wives, again, put on 
weeds for their husbands, as if, so far from griev- 
ing in the garb of sorrow, they had made up 
their minds to render it as becoming and at- 
tractive as possible. It was observable, too, 


that ladies and gentlemen who were in passions 
of anguish during the ceremony of interment, 
recovered allnost as soon as they reached home, 
and became quite composed before the tea-drink- 
ing was over. All this was very pleasant and 
improving to see, and Oliver beheld it with 
great admiration. 

That Oliver Twist was moved to resignation 
by the example of these good people, I cannot, 
although I am his biographer, undertake to af- 
firm with any degree of confidence ; but I can 
most distinctly say, that for many months he 
continued meekly to submit to the domination 
and ill-treatment of Noah Claypole, who used 
him far worse than ever, now that his jealousy 
was roused by seeing the new boy promoted to 
the black stick and hat-band, while he, the old 
one, remained stationary in the muffin-cap and 
leathers. Charlotte treated him badly because 
Noah did ; and Mrs. Sowerberry wa& his de- 
cided enemy because Mr. Sowerberry was dis- 
posed to be his friend : so, between these three 
on one side, and a glut of funerals on the other, 
Oliver was not altogether as comfortable as the 


hungry pig was, when he was shut up by mis- 
take in the grain department of a brewery. 

And now I come to a very important passage 
in Ohver's history, for I have to record an act, 
shght and unimportant perhaps in appearance, 
but which indirectly produced a most material 
change in all his future prospects and proceed- 

One day Oliver and Noah had descended 
into the kitchen, at the usual dinner-hour, to 
banquet upon a small joint of mutton — a pound 
and a half of the worst end of the neck ; when, 
Charlotte being called out of the way, there en- 
sued a brief interval of time, which Noah Clay- 
pole, being hungry and vicious, considered he 
could not possibly devote to a worthier purpose 
than aggravating and tantalising young Oliver 

Intent upon this innocent amusement, Noah 
put his feet on the table-cloth, and pulled Oli- 
ver''s hair, and twitched his ears, and expressed 
his opinion that he was a " sneak,"" and further- 
more announced his intention of coming to see 
him hung whenever that desirable event should 


take place, and entered upon various other 
topics of petty annoyance, like a malicious and 
ill-conditioned charity-boy as he was. But, 
none of these taunts producing the desired 
effect of making Oliver cry, Noah attempted to 
be more facetious still, and in this attempt did 
what many small wits, with far greater reputa- 
tions than Noah, notwithstanding, do to this day 
when they want to be funny ; — he got rather 

u Work'us,'' said Noah, '' how 's your mo- 

" She 's dead," replied Oliver ; '' don't you 
say anything about her to me ! " 

Oliver's colour rose as he said this ; he 
breathed quickly, and there was a curious 
working of the mouth and nostrils, which Mr. 
Claypole thought must be the immediate pre- 
cursor of a violent fit of crying. Under this 
impression, he returned to the charge. 

" What did she die of, Work'us.?" said 

'' Of a broken heart, some of our old nurses 
told me," replied Oliver, more as if he were 


talking to himself than answering Noah. " I 
think 1 know what it must be to die of that ! ^' 

" Tol de rol lol lol, right fol lairy, Work'us," 
said Noah, as a tear rolled down Oliver's cheek. 
" What"'s set you a-snivelling now?"" 

" Not 3/0W," replied Oliver, hastily brushing 
the tear away. " Don't think it.*" 

*' Oh, not me, eh ?" sneered Noah. 

'' No, not you," replied Oliver, sharply. 
" There; that's enough. Don't say anything 
more to me about her ; you 'd better not ! " 

" Better not!" exclaimed Noah. " Well! 
better not ! Work'us, don't be impudent. Your 
mother, too ! She was a nice 'un, she was. 
Oh, Lor!" And here Noah nodded his head 
expressively, and curled up as much of his small 
red nose as muscular action could collect toge- 
ther for the occasion. 

'' Yerknow, Work'us," continued Noah, em- 
boldened by Oliver's silence, and speaking in a 
jeering tone of affected pity — of all tones the 
most annoying — " Yer know, Work'us, it carn't 
be helped now, and of course yer couldn't help 
it then, and I 'm very sorry for it, and I 'm sure 


we all are, and pity yer very much. But yer 
must know, Work^us, yer mother was a regular 
right-down bad 'un." 

" What did you say?" inquired Oliver, look- 
ing up very quickly. 

" A regular right-down bad 'un, Work'us," 
replied Noah, coolly; "and it's a great deal 
better, Work'us, that she died when she did, or 
else she'd have been hard labouring in Bride- 
well, or transported, or hung, which is more 
likely than either, isn't it?" 

Crimson with fury, Oliver started up, over- 
threw chair and table, seized Noah by the 
throat, shook him in the violence of his rage 
till his teeth chattered in his head, and, collect- 
ing his whole force into one heavy blow, felled 
him to the ground. 

A minute ago the boy had looked the quiet, 
mild, dejected creature that harsh treatment 
had made him. But his spirit was roused at 
last ; the cruel insult to his dead mother had 
set his blood on fire. His breast heaved, his 
attitude was erect, his eye bright and vivid, 
and his whole person changed, as he stood 

VOL. I. F 


glaring over the cowardly tormentor who lay 
croucl;\ing at his feet, and defied him with an 
energy he had never known before. 

"He'll mnrder me!" blubbered Noah. 
'* Charlotte ! missis ! here ""s the new boy a-mur- 
dering of me ! Help ! help ! Oliver's gone 
mad! Char— lotte!" 

"Noah's shouts were responded to by a loud 
scream from Charlotte, and a louder from Mrs. 
Sowerberry ; the former of whom rushed into 
the kitchen by a side-door, while the latter 
paused on the staircase till she was quite certain 
that it was consistent with the preservation of 
human life to come further down. 

'' Oh, you little wretch !" screamed Char- 
lotte, seizing Oliver with her utmost force, 
which was about equal to that of a moderately 
strong man in particularly good training, — " Oh, 
you little un-grate-ful, mur-de-rous, hor-rid vil- 
lain!" and between every syllable Charlotte 
gave Oliver a blow with all her might, and ac- 
companied it with a scream for the benefit of 

Charlotte's fist was by no means a light one ; 


but, lest it should not be effectual in calming 
Oliver's wrath, Mrs. Sowerberry plunged into 
the kitchen, and assisted to hold him with one 
hand, while she scratched his face with the 
other ; in this favourable position of affairs 
Noah rose from the ground, and pummeled him 
from behind. 

This was rather too violent exercise to last 
long. When they were all three wearied out, 
and could tear and beat no longer, they dragged 
Oliver, struggling and shouting, but nothing 
daunted, into the dust-cellar, and there locked 
him up ; this being done, Mrs. Sowerberry 
sunk into a chair, and burst into tears. 

" Bless her, she's going off I"" said Charlotte. 
" A glass of water, Noah, dear. Make haste.'" 
" Oh ! Charlotte," said Mrs. Sowerberry, 
speaking as well as she could through a defici- 
ency of breath and a sufficiency of cold water 
which Noah had poured over her head and 
shoulders, — " Oh ! Charlotte, what a mercy we 
have not been all murdered in our beds !" 

" Ah ! mercy indeed, ma'am,'' was the reply. 
^' I only hope this '11 teach master not to have 



any more of these dreadful creatures that are 
born to be murderers and robbers from their 
very cradle. Poor Noah ! he was all but killed, 
ma'am, when I came in.'' 

" Poor fellow !" said Mrs. Sowerberry, look- 
ing piteously on the charity-boy. 

Noah, whose top waistcoat-button might have 
been somewhere on a level with the crown of 
Oliver's head, rubbed his eyes with the inside 
of his wrists while this commiseration was be- 
stowed upon him, and performed some affecting 
tears and sniffs. 

"What's to be done!" exclaimed Mrs. 
Sowerberry. *' Your master 's not at home, — 
there 's not a man in the house, — and he '11 kick 
that door down in ten minutes." Oliver's 
vigorous plunges against the bit of timber in 
question rendered this occurrence highly pro- 

" Dear, dear ! I don't know, ma'am," said 
Charlotte, " unless we send for the police-offi- 

" Or the millingtary," suggested Mr. Clay- 


'' No, no," said Mrs. Sowerberry, bethinking 
herself of Oliver's old friend ; " run to Mr. 
Bumble, Noah, and tell him to come here di- 
rectly, and not to lose a minute ; never mind 
your cap — make haste. You can hold a knife 
to that black eye as you run along, and it '11 
keep the swelling down." 

Noah stopped to make no reply, but started 
oif at his fullest speed ; and very much it asto- 
nished the people who were out walking, to see 
a charity-boy tearing through the streets pell- 
mell, with no cap on his head, and a clasp-knife 
at his eye. 




Noah Claypole ran along the streets at his 
swiftest pace, and paused not once for breath 
until he reached the workhouse-gate. Having 
rested here for a minute or so, to collect a good 
burst of sobs and an imposing show of tears 
and terror, he knocked loudly at the wicket, 
and presented such a rueful face to the aged 
})auper who opened it, that even he, who saw 
nothing but rueful faces about him at the best 
of times, started back in astonishment. 

"Why, what's the matter with the boy?" 
said the old pauper. 

" Mr. Bumble ! Mr. Bumble ! " cried Noah, 
with well-affected dismay, and in tones so loud 
and agitated that they not only caught the ear 


of Mr. Bumble himself, who happened to be 
hard bj, but alarmed him so much that he 
rushed into the yard without his cocked hat, — 
which is a very curious and remarkable circum- 
stance, as showing that even a beadle, acted 
upon by a sudden and powerful impulse, may 
be afflicted with a momentary visitation of loss 
of self-possession, and forgetfulness of personal 

" Oh, Mr. Bumble, sir !" said Noah ; " Oli- 
ver, sir, — Oliver has " 

" What?— what?'' interposed Mr. Bumble, 
with a gleam of pleasure in his metallic eyes. 
" Not run away ; he hasn't run away, has he, 

" No, sir, no ; not run away, sir, but he 's 
turned wicious," replied Noah. " He tried to 
murder me, sir, and then he tried to murder 
Charlotte, and then missis. Oh ! what dreadful 
pain it is ! such agony, please, sir I " and here 
Noah writhed and twisted his body into an 
extensive variety of eel-like positions ; thereby 
giving Mr. Bumble to understand that, from 
the violent and sanguinary onset of Oliver 


Twist, he had sustained severe internal injury 
and damage, from which he was at that mo- 
ment suffering the acutest torture. 

When Noah saw that the intelligence he 
communicated perfectly paralysed Mr. Bumble, 
he imparted additional effect thereunto, by 
bewailing his dreadful wounds ten times louder 
than before ; and, when he observed a gentle- 
man in a white waistcoat crossing the yard, he 
was more tragic in his lamentations than ever, 
rightly conceiving it highly expedient to attract 
the notice, and rouse the indignation, of the 
gentleman aforesaid. 

The gentleman's notice was very soon attract- 
ed, for he had not walked three paces when he 
turned angrily round, and inquired what that 
young cur was howling for, and why Mr. Bum- 
ble did not favour him with something which 
would render the series of vocular exclamations 
so designated, an involuntary process. 

" It 's a poor boy from the free-school, sir,'' 
replied Mr. Bumble, " who has been nearly 
murdered — all but murdered, sir — by young 


'' By Jove ! " exclaimed the gentleman in the 
white waistcoat, stopping short. " I knew it ! 
I felt a strange presentiment from the very first, 
that that audacious young savage would come 
to be hung ! "' 

" He has likewise attempted, sir, to murder 
the female servant," said Mr. Bumble, with a 
face of ashy paleness. 

*' And his missis," interposed Mr. Claypole. 

" And his master, too, I think you said, 
Noah?" added Mr. Bumble. 

*' No ; he's out, or he would have murdered 
him," replied Noah. " He said he wanted 

" Ah ! said he wanted to — did he, my boy ?" 
inquired the gentleman in the white waistcoat. 

" Yes, sir," replied Noah ; " and please, sir, 
missis wants to know whether Mr. Bumble can 
spare time to step up there directly and flog 
him, "cause master 's out." 

" Certainly, my boy ; certainly," said the 
gentleman in the white waistcoat, smiling be- 
nignly, and patting Noah's head, which was 
about three inches higher than his own, 

F 5 


'-' You'^re a good boy — a very good boy. 
Here 's a penny for you. Bumble, just step 
up to Sowerberry's with your cane, and see 
what 's best to be done. Don''t spare him, 

" No. I will not, sir,'' replied the beadle, 
adjusting the wax-end which was twisted round 
the bottom of his cane for purposes of parochial 

'•'- Tell Sowerberry not to spare him either. 
They'll! never do anything with him without 
stripes and bruises," said the gentleman in the 
white waistcoat. 

" I '11 take care, sir,*" replied the beadle. 
And the cocked hat and cane having been 
by this time adjusted to their owner's satisfac- 
tion, Mr. Bumble and Noah Claypole betook 
themselves with all speed to the undertaker's 

Here the position of affairs had not at all im- 
proved, or Sowerberry had not yet returned, 
and Oliver continued to kick with undiminished 
vigour at the cellar-door. The accounts of 
his ferocity, as related by Mrs. Sowerberry and 


Charlotte, were of so startling a nature that Mr. 
Bumble judged it prudent to parley before 
opening the door. With this view, he gave a 
kick at the outside, by way of prelude, and 
then, applying his mouth to the keykole, said, 
in a deep and impressive tone, 

" Come ; you let me out ! " replied Oliver, 
from the inside. 

" Do you know this here voice, Oliver ?" said 
Mr. Bumble. 

" Yes," replied Oliver. 

" Ain't you afraid of it, sir ? Ain't you a- 
trembling while I speak, sir?" said Mr. Bum- 

" No !" repHed Oliver boldly. 
An answer so different from the one he 
had expected to elicit, and was in the habit of 
receiving, staggered Mr. Bumble not a little. 
He stepped back from the keyhole, drew him- 
self up to his full height, and looked from one to 
another of the three by-standers in mute asto- 

'* Oh, you know Mr. Bumble, he must 


be mad," said Mrs. Sowerberry. " No boy in 
half his senses could venture to speak so to 

" It's not madness, ma'am,'' replied Mr. 
Bumble, after a few moments of deep medita- 
tion ; " it's meat." 

" What !" exclaimed Mrs. Sowerberry. 

^' Meat, ma'am, meat," replied Bumble, with 
stern emphasis. " You 've overfed him, ma'am. 
You 've raised a artificial soul and spirit in him, 
ma'am, unbecoming a person of his condition, 
as the board, Mrs. Sowerberry, who are prac- 
tical philosophers, will tell you. What have 
paupers to do with soul or spirit either ? It 's 
quite enough that we let 'em have live bodies. 
If you had kept the boy on gruel, ma'am, this 
would never have happened." 

" Dear, dear!" ejaculated Mrs. Sowerberry, 
piously raising her eyes to the kitchen ceiling. 
" This comes of being liberal ! " 

The liberality of Mrs. Sowerberry to Oliver 
had consisted in a profuse bestowal upon him 
of all the dirty odds and ends which nobody 
else would eat ; so that there was a great deal 


of meekness and self-devotion in her voluntarily 
remaining under Mr. Bumble's heavy accusa- 
tion, of which, to do her justice, she was wholly 
innocent in thought, word, or deed. 

"Ah!" said Mr. Bumble, when the lady 
brought her eyes down to earth again. " The 
only thing that can be done now, that I know 
of, is to leave him in the cellar for a day or so 
till he 's a little starved down, and then to take 
him out and keep him on gruel all through his 
apprenticeship. He comes of a bad family — 
excitable natures, Mrs. Sowerberry. Both the 
nurse and doctor said that that mother of his 
made her way here against difficulties and pain 
that would have killed any well-disposed wo- 
man weeks before." 

At this point of Mr. Bumble's discourse, Oli- 
ver just hearing enough to know that some fur- 
ther allusion was being made to his mother, 
recommenced kicking with a violence which 
rendered every other sound inaudible. Sower- 
berry returned at this juncture, and Oliver's 
offence having been explained to him, with such 
exaggerations as the ladies thought best calcu- 


lated to rouse his ire, he unlocked the cellar- 
door in a twinkling, and dragged his rebellious 
apprentice out by the collar. 

Oliver's clothes had been torn in the beating 
he had received ; his face was bruised and 
scratched, and his hair scattered over his fore- 
head. The angry flush had not disappeared, 
however ; and when he was pulled out of his 
prison, he scowled boldly on Noah, and looked 
quite undismayed. 

" Now, you are a nice young fellow, ain't 
you?" said Sowerberry, giving OHver a shake 
and a box on the ear. 

'' He called my mother names," replied Oliver. 

" Well, and what if he did, you little un- 
grateful wretch?" said Mrs. Sowerberry. "She 
deserved what he said, and worse." 

" She didn't," said Oliver. 

'^ She did," said Mrs. Sowerberry. 

" It's a lie!" said Oliver. 

Mrs. Sowerberry burst into a flood of tears. 

This flood of tears left Sowerberry no alter- 
native. If he had hesitated for one instant to 
punish Oliver most severely, it must be quite 


clear to every experienced reader that he would 
have been, according to all precedents in disputes 
of matrimony established, a brute, an unnatural 
husband, an insulting creature, a base imitation 
of a man, and various other agreeable charac- 
ters too numerous for recital within the limits of 
this chapter. To do him justice, he was, as far 
as his power went, — it was not very extensive, 
— kindly disposed towards the boy; perhaps 
because it was his interest to be so, perhaps 
because his wife disliked him. The flood of 
tears, however, left him no resource ; so he at 
once gave him a drubbing, which satisfied even 
Mrs. Sowerberry herself, and rendered Mr. 
Bumble's subsequent application of the paro- 
chial cane rather unnecessary. For the rest of 
the day he was shut up in the back kitchen, in 
company with a pump and a slice of bread ; 
and, at night, Mrs. Sowerberry, after making 
various remarks outside the door, by no means 
complimentary to the memory of his mother, 
looked into the room, and, amidst the jeers and 
pointings of Noah and Charlotte, ordered him 
up stairs to his dismal bed. 


It was not until he was left alone in the si- 
lence and stillness of the gloomy workshop of 
the undertaker, that Oliver gave way to the feel- 
ings which the day*'s treatment may be supposed 
likely to have awakened in a mere child. He 
had listened to their taunts with a look of 
contempt ; he had borne the lash without a 
cry, for he felt that pride swelling in his heart 
which would have kept down a shriek to the 
last, if they had roasted him alive. But, now 
that there were none to see or hear him, he fell 
upon his knees on the floor, and, hiding his face 
in his hands, wept such tears as, God send for 
the credit of our nature, few so young may ever 
have cause to pour out before him. 

For a long time Oliver remained motionless 
in this attitude. The candle was burning low 
in the socket when he rose to his feet, and hav- 
ing gazed cautiously round him, and listened 
intently, gently undid the fastenings of the door 
and looked abroad 

It was a cold dark night. The stars seemed 
to the boy''s eyes further from the earth than he 
had ever seen them before ; there was no wind ; 


and the sombre shadows thrown by the trees on 
the earth, looked sepulchral and death-like, from 
being so still. He softly reclosed the door, and, 
having availed himself of the exj)iring light of 
the candle to tie up in a handkerchief the few 
articles of wearing apparel he had, sat himself 
down upon a bench to wait for morning. 

With the first ray of light that struggled 
through the crevices in the shutters Oliver rose, 
and again unbarred the door. One timid look 
around, — one moment's pause of hesitation, — he 
had closed it behind him, and was in the open 

He looked to the right and to the left, 
uncertain whither to fly. He remembered to 
have seen the waggons, as they went out, toiling 
up the hill ; he took the same route, and ar- 
riving at a footpath across the fields, which he 
knew after some distance led out again into 
the road, struck into it, and walked quickly 

Along this same footpath Oliver well remem- 
bered he had trotted beside Mr. Bumble, when 
he first carried him to the workhouse from the 


farm. His way lay directly in front of the cot- 
tage. His heart beat quickly Avhen he be- 
thought himself of this, and he half resolved to 
turn back. He had come a long way though, 
and should lose a great deal of time by doing so. 
Besides, it was so early that there was very 
little fear of his being seen ; so he walked on. 

He reached the house. There was no ap- 
pearance of its inmates stirring at that early 
hour. Oliver stopped, and peeped into the 
garden. A child was weeding one of the little 
beds ; and as he stopped, he raised his pale face, 
and disclosed the features of one of his former 
companions. Oliver felt glad to see him before 
he went, for, though younger than himself, he 
had been his little friend and playmate ; they 
had been beaten, and starved, and shut up to- 
gether, many and many a time. 

" Hush, Dick !" said Oliver, as the boy ran 
to the gate, and thrust his thin arm. between 
the rails to greet him. " Is any one up ?"' 

" Nobody but me," replied the child. 

" You mustn't say you saw me, Dick," said 
Oliver ; " I am running away. They beat and 


ill-use me, Dick ; and I am going to seek my 
fortune some long way off, I don't know where. 
How pale you are ! " 

" I heard the doctor tell them 1 was dying," 
replied the child with a faint smile. '' I am 
very glad to see you, dear ; but don't stop, 
don't stop." 

" Yes, yes, I will, to say good-b'ye to you," 
replied Oliver. " I shall see you again, Dick ; 
I know I shall. You will be well and happy." 

" I hope so," replied the child, " after I am 
dead, but not before. I know the doctor must 
be right, Oliver, because I dream so much of 
heaven and angels, and kind faces that I never 
see when I am awake. Kiss me," said the 
child, climbing up the low gate, and flinging 
his little arms round Oliver's neck. " Good- 
b'ye, dear ! God bless you ! " 

The blessing was from a young child's lips, 
but it was the first that Oliver had ever heard 
invoked upon his head ; and through all the 
struggles and sufferings, and troubles and changes 
of his after life, he never once forgot it. 




Oliver reached the style at which the by- 
path terminated, and once more gained the 
high-road. It was eight o'clock now; and, 
though he was nearly five miles away from the 
town, he ran, and hid behind the hedges by 
turns, till noon, fearing that he might be pur- 
sued and overtaken. Then he sat down to rest 
by the side of a mile-stone, and began to think 
for the first time where he had better go and 
try to live. 

The stone by which he was seated, bore in 
large characters an intimation that it was just 
seventy miles from that spot to London. The 
name awakened a new train of ideas in the 
boy's mind. London ! — that great large place I 


— nobody — not even Mr. Bumble — could ever 
find him there. He had often heard the old 
men in the workhouse, too, say that no lad of 
spirit need want in London, and that there 
were ways of living in that vast city which 
those who had been bred up in country 
parts had no idea of. It was the very place 
for a homeless boy, who must die in the streets 
unless some one helped him. As these things 
passed through his thoughts, he jumped upon 
his feet, and again walked forward. 

He had diminished the distance between 
himself and London by full four miles more, 
before he recollected how much he must un- 
dergo ere he could hope to reach his place of 
destination. As this consideration forced itself 
upon him, he slackened his pace a little, and 
meditated upon his means of getting there. 
He had a crust of bread, a coarse shirt, and 
two pairs of stockings in his bundle ; and a 
penny — a gift of Sowerberry's after some 
funeral in which he had acquitted himself more 
than ordinarily well — in his pocket. " A clean 
shirt,'' thought Oliver, " is a very comfortable 


thing, — very ; and so are two pairs of darned 
stockings, and so is a penny, but they are 
small helps to a sixty-five miles'* walk in winter 
time.'' But Oliver's thoughts, like those of 
most other people, although they were ex- 
tremely ready and active to point out his diffi- 
culties, were wholly at a loss to suggest any 
feasible mode of surmounting them ; so, after a 
good deal of thinking to no particular purpose, 
he changed his little bundle over to the other 
shoulder, and trudged on. 

Oliver walked twenty miles that day, and 
all that time tasted nothing but the crust of dry 
bread, and a few draughts of water which he 
begged at the cottage-doors by the road-side. 
When the night came, he turned into a mea- 
dow, and, creeping close under a hay-rick, 
determined to lie there till morning. He felt 
frightened at first, for the wind moaned dis- 
mally over the empty fields, and he was cold 
and hungry, and more alone than he had ever 
felt before. Being very tired with his walk, how- 
ever, he soon fell asleep and forgot his troubles. 
He felt cold and stiff when he got up next 


morning, and so hungry that he was obhgecl to 
exchange the penny for a small loaf in the very 
first village through which he passed. He had 
walked no more than twelve miles, when night 
closed in again ; for his feet were sore, and his 
legs so weak that they trembled beneath him. 
Another night passed in the bleak damp air 
only made him worse ; and, when he set for- 
ward on his journey next morning, he could 
hardly crawl along. 

He waited at the bottom of a steep hill till a 
stage-coach came up, and then begged of the 
outside passengers ; but there were very few 
who took any notice of him, and even those, 
told him to wait till they got to the top of the 
hill, and then let them see how far he could run 
for a halfpenny. Poor Oliver tried to keep up 
with the coach a little way, but was unable to 
do it, by reason of his fatigue and sore feet. 
When the outsides saw this, they put their 
halfpence back into their pockets again, de- 
claring that he was an idle young dog, and 
didn't deserve anything ; and the coach rattled 
away, and left only a cloud of dust behind. 


In some villages, large painted boards were 
fixed up, warning all persons who begged within 
the district that they would be sent to jail, 
which frightened Oliver very much, and made 
him very glad to get out of them with all pos- 
sible expedition. In others he would stand 
about the inn-yards, and look mournfully at 
every one who passed ; a proceeding which 
generally terminated in the landlady's ordering 
one of the post-boys who were lounging about, 
to drive that strange boy out of the place, for 
she was sure he had come to steal something. 
If he begged at a farmer's house, ten to one but 
they threatened to set the dog on him ; and 
when he showed his nose in a shop, they talked 
about the beadle, which brought Oliver's heart 
into his mouth, — very often the only thing he 
had there, for many hours together. 

In fact, if it had not been for a good-hearted 
turnpike-man, and a benevolent old lady, Oli- 
ver's troubles would have been shortened by the 
very same process which put an end to his 
mother's ; in other words, he would most as- 


suredly have fallen dead upon the king's high- 
way. But the turnpike-man gave him a meal 
of bread and cheese ; and the old lady, who had 
a shipwrecked grandson wandering barefooted 
in some distant part of the earth, took pity 
upon the poor orphan, and gave him what 
little she could afford — and more — with such 
kind and gentle words, and such tears of sym- 
pathy and compassion, that they sank deeper 
into Oliver's soul than all the sufferings he had 
ever undergone. 

Early on the seventh morning after he had 
left his native place, Oliver limped slowly into 
the little town of Barnet. The window-shut- 
ters were closed, the street was empty, not a 
soul had awakened to the business of the day. 
The sun was rising in all his splendid beauty, 
but the light only served to show the boy his 
own lonesomeness and desolation as he sat with 
bleeding feet and covered with dust upon a cold 

By degrees the shutters were opened, the 
window-blinds were drawn up, and people 

VOL. I. G 


began passing to and fro. Some few stopped 
to gaze at Oliver for a moment or two, or 
turned round to stare at him as they hurried 
by; but none relieved him, or troubled them- 
selves to inquire how he came there. He had 
no heart to beg, and there he sat. 

He had been crouching on the step for some 
time, wondering at the great number of public 
houses (every other house in Barnet is a tavern, 
large or small), gazing listlessly at the coaches 
as they passed through, and thinking how strange 
it seemed that they could do with ease in a few 
hours what it had taken him a whole week of 
courage and determination beyond his years 
to accomplish, when he was roused by observing 
that a boy who had passed him carelessly some 
minutes before, had returned, and was now sur- 
veying him most earnestly from the opposite 
side of the way. He took httle heed of this 
at first; but the boy remained in the same 
attitude of close observation so long, that Oliver 
raised his head, and returned his steady look. 
Upon this, the boy crossed over, and, walking 
close up to Oliver, said, 



" Hullo ! my covey, what's the row?" 
The boy who addressed this inquiry to the 
young wayfarer was about his own age, but one 
of the queerest-looking boys that Oliver had 
ever seen- He was a snub-nosed, flat-browed, 
common- faced boy enough, and as dirty a juve- 
nile as one would wish to see ; but he had 
about him all the airs and manners of a man. 
He was short of his age, with rather bow-legs, 
and little sharp ugly eyes. His hat was stuck 
on the top of his head so slightly that it threat- 
ened to fall off every moment, and would have 
done so very often if the wearer had not had a 
knack of every now and then giving his head a 
sudden twitch, which brought it back to its old 
place again. He wore a man's coat, which 
reached nearly to his heels. He had turned 
the cuffs back halfway up his arm to get his 
hands out of the sleeves, apparently with the ul- 
timate view of thrusting them into the pockets 
of his corduroy trousers, for there he kept them. 
He was altogether as roystering and swagger- 
ing a young gentleman as ever stood four feet 
six, or something less, in his bluchers. 

G 2 


" Hullo, my covey, what's the row?" said 
this strange young gentleman to Oliver. 

" I am very hungry and tired," replied Oli- 
ver, the tears standing in his eyes as he spoke. 
" I have walked a long way, — I have been 
walking these seven days." 

" Walking for sivin days ! " said the young 
gentleman. " Oh, I see. Beak's order, eh ? 
But," he added, noticing Oliver's look of sur- 
prise, " I suppose you don't know what a beak 
is, my flash com-pan-i-on," 

Oliver mildly replied, that he had always 
heard a bird's mouth described by the term in 

"My eyes, how green!" exclaimed the 
young gentleman. " Why, a beak 's a madg- 
st'rate ; and when you walk by a beak's order, 
it's not straight forerd, but always going up, 
and nivir coming down agen. Was you never 
on the mill .?" 

" What mill ? " inquired Oliver. 

" What mill ! — why, the mill, — the mill as 
takes up so little room that it '11 work inside a 
stone jug, and always goes better when the 


wind 's low with people than when it ''s high, acos 
then they can't get workmen. But come," said 
the young gentleman ; " you want grub, and you 
shall have it. I 'm at low-water-mark, — only 
one bob and a magpie ; but, as far as it goes, 
I'll fork out and stump. Up with you on 
your pins. There : now then. Morrice." 

Assisting Oliver to rise, the young gentleman 
took him to an adjacent chandler's shop, where 
he purchased a sufficiency of ready-dressed ham 
and a half- quartern loaf, or, as he himself ex- 
pressed it, " a fourpenny bran ; " the ham being 
kept clean and preserved from dust by the in- 
genious expedient of making a hole in the loaf 
by pulling out a portion of the crumb, and stuff- 
ing it therein. Taking the bread under his 
arm, the young gentleman turned into a small 
public-house, and led the way to a tap-room in 
the rear of the premises. Here, a pot of beer 
was brought in by the direction of the myste- 
rious youth ; and Oliver, falling to, at his new 
friend's bidding, made a long and hearty meal, 
during the progress of which the strange boy eyed 
him from time to time with great attention. 


" Going to London?" said the strange boy, 
when Oliver had at length concluded. 

" Yes." 

" Got any lodgings?" 

'' No." 

" Money?" 

" No." 

The strange boy whistled, and put his arms 
into his pockets as far as the big-coat sleeves 
would let them go. 

" Do you live in London?" inquired Oliver. 

'• Yes, I do, when I 'm at home," replied 
the boy. " I suppose you want some place to 
sleep in to-night, don't you?" 

" I do indeed," answered Oliver. " I have 
not slept under a roof since I left the country." 

" Don't fret your eyelids on that score," said 
the young gentleman. " I've got to be in 
London to-night, and I know a 'spectable old 
genelman as lives there, wot '11 give you lodg- 
ings for nothink, and never ask for the change ; 
that is, if any genelman he knows interduces 
you. And don't he know me ? — Oh, no, — 
not in the least, — by no means, — certainly not." 


The young gentleman smiled, as if to inti- 
mate that the latter fragments of discourse 
were playfully ironical, and finished the beer 
as he did so. 

This unexpected offer of shelter was too 
tempting to be resisted, especially as it was 
immediately followed up by the assurance 
that the old gentleman already referred to, 
would doubtless provide Oliver with a comfort- 
able place without loss of time. This led to 
a more friendly and confidential dialogue, from 
which Oliver discovered that his friend's name 
was Jack Dawkins, and that he was a peculiar 
pet and protege of the elderly gentleman before 

Mr. Dawkins's appearance did not say a 
vast deal in favour of the comforts which his 
patron's interest obtained for those whom he 
took under his protection ; but as he had 
a rather flighty and dissolute mode of con- 
versing, and furthermore avowed that among 
his intimate friends he was better known by 
the sobriquet of " The artful Dodger," Oliver 
concluded that, being of a dissipated and care- 


less turn, the moral precepts of his benefactor 
had hitherto been thrown away upon him. 
Under this impression, he secretly resolved to 
cultivate the good opinion of the old gentleman 
as quickly as possible ; and, if he found the 
Dodger incorrigible, as he more than half 
suspected he should, to decline the honour of 
his farther acquaintance. 

As John Dawkins objected to their entering 
London before nightfall, it was nearly eleven 
o^clock when they reached the turnpike at 
Islington. They crossed from the Angel into 
St. John's-road, struck down the small street 
which terminates at Sadler's Wells theatre, 
through Exmouth-street and Coppice-row, down 
the little court by the side of the workhouse, 
across the classic ground which once bore the 
name of Hockley-in-the-hole, thence into Little 
SafFron-hill, and so into SaiFron-hill the Great, 
along which the Dodger scudded at a rapid 
pace, directing Oliver to follow close at his 

Although Oliver had enough to occupy his 
attention in keeping sight of his leader, he 


could not help bestowing a few hasty glances 
on either side of the way as he passed along. 
A dirtier or more wretched place he had never 
seen. The street was very narrow and muddy, 
and the air was impregnated with filthy odours. 
There were a good many small shops ; but the 
only stock in trade appeared to be heaps of 
children, who, even at that time of night, 
were crawling in and out at the doors, or 
screaming from the inside. The sole places 
that seemed to prosper amid the general blight 
of the place were the public-houses, and in 
them, the lowest orders of Irish (who are gene- 
rally the lowest orders of anything) were 
wrangling with might and main. Covered 
ways and yards, which here and there diverged 
from the main street, disclosed little knots of 
houses where drunken men and women were 
positively wallowing in the filth ; and from 
several of the door-ways, great ill-looking fel- 
lows were cautiously emerging, bound, to all 
appearance, upon no very well-disposed or harm- 
less errands. 

Oliver was just considering whether he 

G 5 


hadn't better run away, when they reached the 
bottom of the hill : his conductor catching him 
by the arm, pushed open the door of a house 
near Field-lane, and, drawing him into the 
passage, closed it behind them. 

'' Now, then," cried a voice from below, in 
reply to a whistle from the Dodger. 

" Plummy and slamf'' was the reply. 

This seemed to be some watchword or signal 
that all was right ; for the light of a feeble 
candle gleamed on the wall at the farther end 
of the passage, and a man's face peeped out 
from where a balustrade of the old kitchen 
staircase had been broken away. 

" There 's two on you," said the man, thrust- 
ing the candle farther out, and shading his eyes 
with his hand. " Who 's the f other one ?" 

" A new pal," replied Jack Dawkins, pulling 
Oliver forward, 

" Where did he come from?" 

" Greenland. Is Fagin up stairs ?" 

" Yes, he 's a sortin' the wipes. Up with 
you." The candle was drawn back, and the 
face disappeared. 


Oliver, groping his way with one hand, and 
with the other firmly grasped by his companion, 
ascended with much difficulty the dark and 
broken stairs, which his conductor mounted 
with an ease and expedition that showed he 
was well acquainted with them. He threw 
open the door of a back-room, and drew Oliver 
in after him. 

The walls and ceiling of the room were per- 
fectly black with age and dirt. There was a 
deal-table before the fire, upon which was a 
candle stuck in a ginger-beer bottle ; two or 
three pewter pots, a loaf and butter, and a 
plate. In a frying-pan which was on the fire, 
and which was secured to the mantelshelf by 
a string, some sausages were cooking ; and 
standing over them, with a toasting-fork in 
his hand, was a very old shrivelled Jew, whose 
villanous-looking and repulsive face was obscured 
by a quantity of matted red hair. He was 
dressed in a greasy flannel gown, with his 
throat bare, and seemed to be dividing his 
attention between the frying-pan and a clothes- 
horse, over which a great number of silk hand- 


kerchiefs were hanging. Several rough beds 
made of old sacks were huddled side by side on 
the floor ; and seated round the table were four 
or five boys, none older than the Dodger, smok- 
ing long clay pipes and drinking spirits with 
the air of middle-aged men. These all crowded 
about their associate as he whispered a few 
words to the Jew, and then turned round and 
grinned at Oliver, as did the Jew himself: 
toasting-fork in hand. 

" This is him, Fagin,**' said Jack Dawkins ; 
" my friend, Oliver Twist."" 

The Jew grinned ; and, making a low obei- 
sance to Oliver, took him by the hand, and 
hoped he should have the honour of his inti- 
mate acquaintance. Upon this, the young 
gentlemen with the pipes came round him, 
and shook both his hands very hard, — especi- 
ally the one in which he held his little bundle. 
One young gentleman was very anxious to hang 
up his cap for him ; and another was so obliging 
as to put his hands in his pockets, in order 
that, as he was very tired, he might not have 
the trouble of emptying them when he went to 


L/'U^€y7> ^?e^^i5?:^^;(^Z> ^-^^/€<^^^^i:^^i^ C?^ C/i^i^^/9Z<Z^dy. 


bed. These civilities would probably have 
been extended much further, but for a liberal 
exercise of the Jew's toasting-fork on the heads 
and shoulders of the affectionate youths who 
offered them. 

" We are very glad to see you, Oliver, — 
very,**"* said the Jew. " Dodger, take off the 
sausages, and draw a tub near the fire for Oli- 
ver. Ah, you're a-staring at the pocket-hand- 
kerchiefs ! — eh, my dear ? There are a good 
many of 'em, ain t there ? We Ve just looked 
'em out ready for the wash ; that 's all, Oliver ; 
that 's all. Ha ! ha ! ha ! " 

The latter part of this speech was hailed by 
a boisterous shout from all the hopeful pupils 
of the merry old gentleman, in the midst of 
which they went to supper. 

Oliver ate his share ; and the Jew then mixed 
him a glass of hot gin and water, telling him 
he must drink it off directly, because another 
gentleman wanted the tumbler. Oliver did as 
he was desired. Almost instantly afterwards, 
he felt himself gently lifted on to one of the 
sacks, and then he sunk into a deep sleep. 




It was late next morning when Oliver awoke 
from a sound, long sleep. There was no other 
person in the room but the old Jew, who was 
boiling some coffee in a saucepan for breakfast, 
and whistling softly to himself as he stirred it 
round and round with an iron spoon. He 
would stop every now and then to listen when 
there was the least noise below ; and, when he 
had satisfied himself, he would go on whistling 
and stirring again as before. 

Although Ohver had roused himself from 
sleep, he was not thoroughly awake. There 
is a drowsy state, between sleeping and wak- 
ing, when you dream more in five minutes 
with your eyes half open, and yourself half 


conscious of everything that is passing around 
you, than you would in five nights with your 
eyes fast closed, and your senses wrapt in per- 
fect unconsciousness. At such times, a mortal 
knows just enough of what his mind is doing 
to form some glimmering conception of its 
mighty powers, its bounding from earth and 
spurning time and space, when freed from the 
restraint of its corporeal associate. 

Oliver was precisely in this condition. He 
saw the Jew with his half-closed eyes, heard 
his low whistling, and recognised the sound 
of the spoon grating against the saucepan's 
sides ; and yet the self-same senses were 
mentally engaged at the same time in busy 
action with almost everybody he had ever 

When the coffee was done, the Jew drew the 
saucepan to the hob, and, standing in an irreso- 
lute attitude for a few minutes, as if he did not 
well know how to employ himself, turned round 
and looked at Oliver, and called him by his 
name. He did not answer, and was to all 
appearance asleep. 


After satisfying himself upon this head, the 
Jew stepped gently to the door, which he fast- 
ened ; he then drew forth, as it seemed to Oli- 
ver, from some trap in the floor, a small box, 
which he placed carefully on the table. His 
eyes glistened as he raised the lid and looked in. 
Dragging an old chair to the table, he sat down, 
and took from it a magnificent gold watch, 
sparkling with diamonds. 

" Aha ! " said the Jew, shrugging up his 
shoulders, and distorting every feature with a 
hideous grin. " Clever dogs ! clever dogs ! — 
Staunch to the last ! Never told the old par- 
son where they were ; never peached upon old 
Fagin. And why should they ? It wouldn^t 
have loosened the knot, or kept the drop up a 
minute longer. No, no, no ! Fine fellows ! — 
fine fellows ! " 

With these and other muttered reflections of 
the like nature, the Jew once more deposited 
the watch in its place of safety. At least half 
a dozen more were severally drawn forth from 
the same box, and surveyed with equal plea- 
sure: besides rings, brooches, bracelets, and 


other articles of jewellery, of such magnificent 
materials and costly workmanship that Oliver 
had no idea even of their names. 

Having replaced these trinkets, the Jew took 
out another, so small that it lay in the palm of 
his hand. There seemed to be some very mi- 
nute inscription on it, for the Jew laid it flat 
upon the table, and, shading it with his hand, 
pored over it long and earnestly. At length 
he put it down as if despairing of success, and, 
leaning back in his chair, muttered, — 

" What a fine thing capital punishment is ! 
Dead men never repent ; dead men never bring 
awkward stories to light. Ah, it 's a fine 
thing for the trade ! Five of them strung up 
in a row, and none left to play booty or turn 
white-livered !"''' 

As the Jew uttered these words, his bright 
dark eyes which had been staring vacantly before 
him, fell on 01iver"'s face ; the boy's eyes were 
fixed on his in mute curiosity, and, although 
the recognition was only for an instant — for the 
briefest space of time that can possibly be con- 
ceived, — it was enough to show the old man 


that he had been observed. He closed the 
lid of the box with a loud crash, and, laying 
his hand on a bread-knife which was on 
the table, started furiously up. He trembled 
very much though ; for, even in his terror, 
Oliver could see that the knife quivered in 
the air. 

''What's that?'' said the Jew. ''What 
do you watch me for ? Why are you awake ? 
What have you seen ? Speak out, boy ! 
Quick — quick ! for your life ! " 

" I wasn't able to sleep any longer, sir," 
replied Oliver, meekly. " I am very sorry if 
I have disturbed you, sir." 

" You were not awake an hour ago ? " said 
the Jew, scowling fiercely on the boy. 

" No — no, indeed, sir," replied Oliver. 

" Are you sure ?" cried the Jew, with a still 
fiercer look than before, and a threatening atti- 

" Upon my word I was not, sir," replied 
Oliver, earnestly. " I was not, indeed, sir." 

" Tush, tush, my dear ! " said the Jew, ab- 
ruptly resuming his old manner, and playing 


with the knife a little, before he laid it down, as 
if to induce the belief that he had caught it up 
in mere sport. ** Of course I know that, my 
dear. I only tried to frighten you. You 're a 
brave boy. Ha ! ha ! you 're a brave boy, Oli- 
ver ! " and the Jew rubbed his hands with a 
chuckle, but looked uneasily at the box not- 

" Did you see any of these pretty things, 
my dear ? " said the Jew, laying his hand upon 
it after a short pause. 

'' Yes, sir," replied Oliver. 

" Ah ! " said the Jew, turning rather pale. 
"• They — they 're mine, Oliver ; my little pro- 
perty. All I have to live upon in my old age. 
The folks call me a miser, my dear, — only a 
miser ; that 's all." 

Oliver thought the old gentleman must be a 
decided miser to live in such a dirty place, 
with so many watches ; but, thinking that 
perhaps his fondness for the Dodger and the 
other boys cost him a good deal of money, 
he only cast a deferential look at the Jew, and 
asked if he might get up. 


" Certainly, my dear, — certainly," replied 
the old gentleman. " Stay. There's a pitcher 
of water in the corner by the door. Bring it 
here, and I '11 give you a basin to wash in, my 

Oliver got up, walked across the room, and 
stooped for one instant to raise the pitcher. 
When he turned his head, the box was gone. 

He had scarcely washed himself and made 
everything tidy by emptying the basin out of 
the window, agreeably to the Jew's directions, 
than the Dodger returned, accompanied by a 
very sprightly young friend whom Oliver had 
seen smoking on the previous night, and who 
was now formally introduced to him as Charley 
Bates. The four sat down to breakfast upon 
the coffee and some hot rolls and ham which 
the Dodger had brought home in the crown of 
his hat. 

" Well," said the Jew, glancing slyly at 
Oliver, and addressing himself to the Dodger, 
" I hope you've been at work this morning, 
my dears." 

" Hard," replied the Dodger. 


*' As naiis," added Charley Bates. 
"Good boys, good boys!" said the Jew. 
*' What havej/oM got, Dodger?" 

'' A couple of pocket-books," replied that 
young gentleman. 

" Lined?" inquired the Jew with trembling 

" Pretty well," replied the Dodger, produ- 
cing two pocket-books, one green and the other 

" Not so heavy as they might be," said the 
Jew, after looking at the insides carefully ; 
" but very neat and nicely made. Ingenious 
workman, ain't he, Oliver?" 

" Very, indeed, sir," said Oliver. At which 
Mr. Charles Bates laughed uproariously, very 
much to the amazement of Oliver, who saw 
nothing to laugh at, in anything that had 

" And what have you got, my dear?" said 
Fagin to Charley Bates. 

" Wipes," replied Master Bates : at the same 
time producing four pocket-handkerchiefs. 

" Well," said the Jew, inspecting them 


closely ; " They 're very good ones, — very. 
You haven't marked them well, though, Char- 
ley; so the marks shall be picked out with a 
needle, and well teach Oliver how to do it. 
Shall us, Oliver, eh ?— Ha ! ha ! ha !" 

" If you please, sir," said Oliver. 

" You'd like to be able to make pocket-hand- 
kerchiefs as easy as Charley Bates, wouldn't 
you, my dear ?" said the Jew. 

" Very much indeed, if you'll teach me, sir," 
replied Oliver. 

Master Bates saw something so exquisitely 
ludicrous in this reply that he burst into an- 
other laugh ; which laugh meeting the coffee he 
was drinking, and carrying it down some wrong 
channel, very nearly terminated in his prema- 
ture suffocation. 

" He is so jolly green ! " said Charley when 
he recovered, as an apology to the company for 
his unpoHte behaviour. 

The Dodger said nothing, but he smoothed 
Oliver's hair down over his eyes, and said he 'd 
know better by-and-by ; upon which the old 
gentleman, observing Oliver's colour mounting, 


changed the subject by asking whether there 
had been much of a crowd at the execution 
that morning. This made him wonder more 
and more, for it was plain from the repHes of 
the two boys that they had both been there, 
and OHver naturally wondered how they could 
possibly have found time to be so very indus- 

When the breakfast was cleared away, the 
merry old gentleman and the two boys played 
at a very curious and uncommon game, which 
was performed in this way : — The merry old 
gentleman, placing a snuff-box in one pocket of 
his trousers, a note-case in the other, and a 
watch in his waistcoat pocket, with a guard 
chain round his neck, — and sticking a mock dia- 
mond pin in his shirt, buttoned his coat tight 
round him, and, putting his spectacle-case and 
handkerchief in the pockets, trotted up and 
down the room with a stick, in imitation of the 
manner in which old gentlemen walk about the 
streets every hour in the day. Sometimes he 
stopped at the fire-place, and sometimes at the 
door, making belief that he was staring with all 


his might into shop-windows. At such times 
he would look constantly round him for fear 
of thieves, and keep slapping all his pockets in 
turn, to see that he hadn't lost anything, in 
such a very funny and natural manner, that 
Oliver laughed till the tears ran down his face. 
All this time the two boys followed him closely 
about, getting out of his sight so nimbly every 
time he turned round, that it was impossible to 
follow their motions. At last the Dodger trod 
upon his toes, or ran upon his boot accidentally, 
while Charley Bates stumbled up against him 
behind ; and in that one moment they took 
from him with the most extraordinary rapidity 
snuff-box, note-case, watch-guard, chain, shirt- 
pin, pocket-handkerchief, — even the spectacle- 
case. If the old gentleman felt a hand in any 
one of his pockets, he cried out where it was, 
and then the game began all over again. 

When this game had been played a great 
many times, a couple of young ladies came- to 
see the young gentlemen ; one of whom was 
called Bet, and the other Nancy. They wore a 
good deal of hair, not very neatly turned up 


behind, and were rather untidy about the shoes 
and stockings. They were not exactly pretty, 
perhaps ; but they had a great deal of colour in 
their faces, and looked quite stout and hearty. 
Being remarkably free and agreeable in their 
manners, Oliver thought them very nice girls 
indeed, as there is no doubt they were. 

These visitors stopped a long time. Spirits 
were produced, in consequence of one of the 
young ladies complaining of a coldness in her 
inside, and the conversation took a very con- 
vivial and improving turn. At length Charley 
Bates expressed his opinion that it was time 
to pad the hoof, which it occurred to Oliver 
must be French for going out ; for directly 
afterwards, the Dodger, and Charley, and the 
two young ladies, went away together, having 
been kindly furnished with money to spend by 
the amiable old Jew. 

" There, my dear," said Fagin, " that 's a 
pleasant life, isn't it ? They have gone out for 
the day." 

" Have they done work, sir ?'' inquired 

VOL. I. H 


" Yes,'*'' said the Jew ; " that is, unless they 
should unexpectedly come across any when 
they are out ; and they won''t neglect it if they 
do, my dear, depend upon it." 

'' Make 'em your models, my dear, make 'em 
your models," said the Jew, tapping the fire- 
shovel on the hearth to add force to his words ; 
" do everything they bid you, and take their 
advice in all matters, especially the Dodger's, 
my dear. He'll be a great man himself, and 
make you one too, if you take pattern by him. 
Is my handkerchief hanging out of my pocket, 
my dear ?" said the Jew, stopping short. 
'* Yes, sir," said Oliver. 
" See if you can take it out without my feel- 
ing it, as you saw them do, when we were at 
play this morning." 

Oliver held up the bottom of the pocket with 
one hand as he had seen the Dodger hold it, 
and drew the handkerchief lightly out of it with 
the other. 

" Is it gone ?" cried the Jew. 
" Here it is, sir," said Oliver, showing it in 
his hand. 


" YouVe a clever boy, my dear,'*'' said the 
playful old gentleman, patting Oliver on the 
liead approvingly ; " I never saw a sharper lad. 
Here 's a shilling for you. If you go on in this 
way, you''ll be the greatest man of the time. 
And now come here, and 1 '11 show you how to 
take the marks out of the handkerchiefs." 

Oliver wondered what picking the old gen- 
tleman"'s pocket in play had to do with his 
chances of being a great man ; but thinking 
that the Jew, being so much his senior, must 
know best, followed him quietly to the table, 
and was soon deeply involved in his new study. 

H 2 





For many days Oliver remained in the 
Jew's room, picking the marks out of the 
pocket-handkerchiefs, (of which a great number 
were brought home,) and sometimes taking 
part in the game already described, which the 
two boys and the Jew played regularly every 
morning. At length he began to languish for 
the fresh air, and took many occasions of earn- 
estly entreating the old gentleman to allow him 
to go out to work with his two companions. 

Oliver was rendered the more anxious to be 
actively employed, by what he had seen of the 
stern morality of the old gentleman"*s character. 


Whenever the Dodger or Charley Bates came 
home at night empty-handed, he would expati- 
ate with great vehemence on the misery of idle 
and lazy habits, and enforce upon them the 
necessity of an active life by sending them sup- 
perless to bed. Upon one occasion, indeed, he 
even went so far as to knock them both down 
a flight of stairs ; but this was carrying out his 
virtuous precepts to an unusual extent. 

At length one morning, Oliver obtained the 
permission he had so eagerly sought. There 
had been no handkerchiefs to work upon for 
two or three days, and the dinners had been 
rather meagre. Perhaps these were reasons 
for the old gentleman's giving his assent, but, 
whether they were or no, he told Oliver he 
might go, and placed him under the joint guar- 
dianship of Charley Bates and his friend the 

The three boys sallied out : the Dodger with 
his coat- sleeves tucked up and his hat cocked as 
usual, Master Bates sauntering along with his 
hands in his pockets, and Oliver between them, 
wondering where they were going, and what 


branch of manufacture he woukl be instructed 
in first. 

The pace at which they went was such a 
very lazy, ill-looldng saunter, that Oliver soon 
began to think his companions were going to 
deceive the old gentleman, by not going to 
work at all. The Dodger had a vicious pro- 
pensity, too, of pulling the caps from the heads 
of small boys and tossing them down areas ; 
while Charley Bates exhibited some very loose 
notions concerning the rights of property, by 
pilfering divers apples and onions from the stalls 
at the kennel sides, and thrusting them into 
pockets which were so surprisingly capacious, 
that they seemed to undermine his whole suit 
of clothes in every direction. These things, 
looked so bad, that Oliver was on the point of 
declaring his intention of seeking his way back 
in the best way he could, when his thoughts 
were suddenly directed into another channel 
by a very mysterious change of behaviour on 
the part of the Dodger. 

They were just emerging from a narrow 
court not far from the open square in Clerken- 


well, wliich is yet called, by some strange 
perversion of terms, " The Green," when the 
Dodger made a sudden stop, and, laying his 
finger on his lip, drew his companions back again 
with the greatest caution and circumspection. 
" What 's the matter?" demanded Oliver. 
"Hush!" replied the Dodger. ''Do you 
see that old cove at the book-stall ? " 

" The old gentleman over the way?" said 
Oliver. " Yes, I see him." 
" Hell do," said the Dodger. 
" A prime plant," observed Charley Bates. 
Oliver looked from one to the other with the 
greatest surprise, but was not permitted to 
make any inquiries, for the two boys walked 
stealthily across the road, and slunk close be- 
hind the old gentleman towards whom his 
attention had been directed. Oliver walked a 
few paces after them, and, not knowing whether 
to advance or retire, stood looking on in silent 

The old gentleman was a very respectable- 
looking personage, with a powdered head and 
gold spectacles; dressed in a bottle-green coat 


with a black velvet collar, and white trousers, 
with a smart bamboo cane, under his arm. 
He had taken up a book from the stall, and 
there he stood, reading away as hard as if he 
were in his elbow-chair in his own study. It 
was very possible that he fancied himself there, 
indeed ; for it was plain, from his utter abstrac- 
tion, that he saw not the book-stall, nor the 
street, nor the boys, nor, in short, anything but 
the book itself, which he was reading straight 
through, turning over the leaves when he got 
to the bottom of a page, beginning at the top 
line of the next one, and going regularly on 
with the greatest interest and eagerness. 

What was Oliver's horror and alarm as he 
stood a few paces off, looking on with his eye- 
lids as wide open as they would possibly go, 
to see the Dodger plunge his hand into this 
old gentleman's pocket, and draw from thence 
a handkerchief which he handed to Charley 
Bates, and with which they both ran away 
round the corner at full speed ! 

In one instant the whole mystery of the 
handkerchiefs, and the watches, and the jewels, 


and the Jew, rushed upon the boy's mind. 
He stood for a moment with the blood so ting- 
ling through all his veins from terror, that he felt 
as if he were in a burnipg fire ; then^ confused 
and frightened, he took to his heels, and, not 
knowing what he did, made off as fast as he 
could lay his feet to the ground. 

This was all done in a minute''s space, and 
the very instant that Oliver began to run, the 
old gentleman putting his hand to his pocket, 
and missing his handkerchief, turned sharp 
round. Seeing the boy scudding away at such 
a rapid pace, he very naturally concluded him 
to be the depredator, and, shouting " Stop 
thief!"" with all his might, made oiF after him, 
book in hand. 

But the old gentleman was not the only per- 
son who raised the hue-and-cry. The Dodger 
and Master Bates, unwilling to attract public 
attention by running down the open street, had 
merely retired into the very first doorway 
round the corner. They no sooner heard the 
cry, and saw Oliver running, than, guessing 
exactly how the matter stood, they issued forth 

H 5 


with great promptitude, and, shouting " Stop 
thief!" too, joined in the pursuit like good 

Although Oliver had been brought up by 
philosophers, he was not theoretically acquaint- 
ed with their beautiful axiom that self-preser- 
vation is the first law of nature. If he had 
been, perhaps he would have been prepared for 
this. Not being prepared, however, it alarmed 
him the more ; so away he went like the wind, 
with the old gentleman and the two boys roar- 
ing and shouting behind him. 

" Stop thief! — stop thief!" There is a magic 
in the sound. The tradesman leaves his coun- 
ter, and the carman his waggon ; the butcher 
throws down his tray, the baker his basket, 
the milk-man his pail, the errand-boy his par- 
cels, the schoolboy his marbles, the paviour his 
pick-axe, the child his battledore. Away they 
run, pell-mell, helter-skelter, slap-dash, tearing, 
yelling, and screaming, knocking down the 
passengers as they turn the corners, rousing up 
the dogs, and astonishing the fowls ; and streets, 
squares, and courts re-echo with the sound. 


" Stop thief! — stop thief!" The cry is taken 
up by a hundred voices, and the crowd accu- 
mulate at every turning. Away they fly, 
splashing through the mud, and rattling along 
the pavements ; up go the windows, out run 
the people, onward bear the mob ; a whole 
audience desert Punch in the very thickest of 
the plot, and, joining the rushing throng, swell 
the shout, and lend fresh vigour to the cry, 
" Stop thief !— stop thief!" 

*' Stop thief! — stop thief!" There is a pas- 
sion for hunting something deeply implanted in 
the human breast. One wretched breathless 
child, panting with exhaustion, terror in his 
looks, agony in his eye, large drops of perspira- 
tion streaming down his face, strains every 
nerve to make head upon his pursuers ; and as 
they follow on his track, and gain upon him 
every instant, they hail his decreasing strength 
with still louder shouts, and whoop and scream 
with joy " Stop thief ! " — Ay, stop him for 
God's sake, were it only in mercy ! 

Stopped at last. A clever blow that. He is 
down upon the pavement, and the crowd eager- 


ly gather round him ; each new comer jostling 
and struggling with the others to catch a 
glimpse. " Stand aside I " — " Give him a little 
air!" — "Nonsense! he don''t deserve it." — 
'' Where's the gentleman?" — " Here he is, 
coming down the street." — " Make room there 
for the gentleman!" — " Is this the boy, sir?" 
— •'« Yes." 

Oliver lay covered with mud and dust, and 
bleeding from the mouth, looking wildly round 
upon the heap of faces that surrounded him, 
when the old gentleman was officiously dragged 
and pushed into the circle by the foremost of 
the pursuers, and made this reply to their 
anxious inquiries. 

" Yes," said the gentleman in a benevolent 
voice, " I am afraid it is." 

" Afraid !" murmured the crowd. " That's 
a good un." 

*' Poor fellow!" said the gentleman, "he 
has hurt himself." 

" / did that, sir," said a great lubberly fellow, 
stepping forward ; " and preciously I cut my 
knuckle gain' his mouth. / stopped him, sir." 



The fellow touched his hat with a grin, ex- 
pecting something for his pains; but the old 
gentleman eyeing him with an expression of 
disgust, looked anxiously round, as if he con- 
templated running away himself: which it is 
very possible he might have attempted to do, 
and thus afforded another chase, had not a 
police officer (who is generally the last person to 
arrive in such cases) at that moment made his 
way through the crowd, and seized Oliver by 
the collar. " Come, get up," said the man 

" It wasn't me indeed, sir. Indeed, indeed, 
it was two other boys,'' said OHver, clasping 
his hands passionately, and looking round : 
" they are here somewhere." 

" Oh no, they ain't," said the officer. He 
meant this to be ironical, but it was true be- 
sides, for the Dodger and Charley Bates had 
filed off down the first convenient court they 
came to. " Come, get up." 

" Don't hurt him," said the old gentleman 

" Oh no, I won't hurt him," replied the 


officer, tearing his jacket half off his back in 
proof thereof. " Come, I know you ; it won't 
do. Will you stand upon your legs, you young 
devil .?" 

Oliver, wdio could hardly stand, made a shift 
to raise himself upon his feet, and was at once 
lugged along the streets by the jacket-collar at 
a rapid pace. The gentleman walked on with 
them by the officer's side ; and as many of the 
crowd as could, got a little a-head, and stared 
back at Oliver from time to time. The boys 
shouted in triumph, and on they went. 




The offence had been committed within the 
district, and indeed in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of a very notorious metropoHtan poHce 
office. The crowd had only the satisfaction 
of accompanying OUver through two or three 
streets, and down a place called Mutton-hill, 
when he was led beneath a low arch-way, and 
up a dirty court into this dispensary of sum- 
mary justice, by the back way. It was a small 
paved yard into which they turned ; and here 
they encountered a stout man with a bunch of 
whiskers on his face, and a bunch of keys in 
his hand. 

'' What's the matter now.^" said the man 


" A young fogle-hiinter," replied the man 
who had OHver in charge. 

'' Are you the party that''s been robbed, 
sir P'' inquired the man with the keys. 

" Yes, I am," replied the old gentleman ; 
" but I am not sure that this boy actually took 
the handkerchief. I — I would rather not press 
the case." 

'^ Must go before the magistrate now, sir," 
replied the man. " His worship will be disen- 
gaged in half a minute. Now, young gallows." 

This was an invitation for Oliver to enter 
through a door which he unlocked as he spoke, 
and which led into a stone cell. Here he was 
searched, and, nothing being found upon him, 
locked up. 

This cell was in shape and size something 
like an area cellar, only not so light. It was 
most intolerably dirty, for it was Monday morn- 
ing, and it had been tenanted by six drunken 
people, who had been locked up elsewhere 
since Saturday night. But this is nothing. 
In our station-houses, men and women are 
every night confined on the most trivial 


charges — the word is worth noting — in dun- 
geons, compared with which, those in Newgate, 
occupied by the most atrocious felons, tried, 
found guilty, and under sentence of death, are 
palaces. Let any man who doubts this, com- 
pare the two. 

The old gentleman looked almost as rueful 
as Oliver when the key grated in the lock ; 
and turned with a sigh to the book which had 
been the innocent cause of all this disturbance. 

" There is something in that boy's face," 
said the old gentleman to himself as he walked 
slowly away, tapping his chin with the cover of 
the book in a thoughtful manner, " something 
that touches and interests me. Can he be in- 
nocent? He looked like — By the bye,'^ 
exclaimed the old gentleman, halting very ab- 
ruptly, and staring up into the sky, " God bless 
my soul ! — where have I seen something like 
that look before ? " 

After musing for some minutes, the old gen- 
tleman walked with the same meditative face 
into a back ante-room opening from the yard ; 
and there, retiring into a corner, called up be 


fore his miners eye a vast amphitheatre of faces 
over which a dusky curtain had hung for many 
years. " No," said the old gentleman, shaking 
his head ; " it must he imagination." 

He wandered over them again. He had call- 
ed them into view, and it was not easy to re- 
place the shroud that had so long concealed 
them. There were the faces of friends and foes, 
and of many that had heen almost strangers, 
peering intrusively from the crowd ; there were 
the faces of young and hlooming girls that were 
now old women; there were others that the 
grave had changed to ghastly trophies of death, 
hut which the mind, superior to his power, still 
dressed in their old freshness and heauty, call- 
ing back the lustre of the eyes, the brightness 
of the smile, the beaming of the soul through 
its mask of clay, and whispering of beauty 
beyond the tomb, changed but to be heightened, 
and taken from earth only to be set up as a 
light to shed a soft and gentle glow upon the 
path to Heaven. 

But the old gentleman could recall no one 
countenance of which Ohver''s features bore a 


trace ; so he heaved a sigh over the recollections 
he had awakened, and being, happily for him- 
self, an absent old gentleman, buried them again 
in the pages of the musty book. 

He was roused by a touch on the shoulder, 
and a request from the man with the keys to 
follow him into the office. He closed his book 
hastily, and was at once ushered into the im- 
posing presence of the renowned Mr. Fang. 

The office was a front parlour, with a pa- 
neled wall. Mr. Fang sat behind a bar at the 
upper end ; and on one side the door, was a 
sort of wooden pen in which poor little Oliver 
was already deposited, trembling very much at 
the awfulness of the scene. 

Mr. Fang was a middle-sized man, with no 
great quantity of hair, and what he had, grow- 
ing on the back and sides of his head. His 
face was stern, and much flushed. If he were 
really not in the habit of taking rather more 
than was exactly good for him, he might have 
brought an action against his countenance for 
libel, and have recovered heavy damages. 

The old gentleman bowed respectfully, arid. 


advancing to the magistrate's desk, said, suiting 
the action to the word, " That is my name and 
address, sir." He then withdrew a pace or 
two ; and, with another polite and gentlemanly 
inclination of the head, waited to be questioned. 

Now, it so happened that Mr. Fang was at 
that moment perusing a leading article in a 
newspaper of the morning, adverting to some 
recent decision of his, and commending him, for 
the three hundred and fiftieth time, to the 
special and particular notice of the Secretary of 
State for the Home Department. He was out 
of temper, and he looked up with an angry 

" Who are you?" said Mr. Fang.. 

The old gentleman pointed with some sur- 
prise to his card. 

" Officer !" said Mr. Fang, tossing the card 
contemptuously away with the newspaper, 
" who is this fellow.?" 

" My name, sir," said the old gentleman, 
speaking like a gentleman, — " my name, sir, 
is Brownlow. Permit me to inquire the name 
of the magistrate who offers a gratuitous and 


unprovoked insult to a respectable man, under 
the protection of the bench." Saying this, 
Mr. Brownlow looked round the office as if in 
search of some person who would aiFord him 
the required information. 

" Officer ! " said Mr. Fang, throwing the 
paper on one side, " what's this fellow charged 

" He's not charged at all, your worship," 
replied the officer, " He appears against the 
boy, your worship." 

His worship knew this perfectly well ; but 
it was a good annoyance, and a safe one. 

"Appears against the boy, does he?" said 
Fang, surveying Mr. Brownlow contemptuously 
from head to foot. " Swear him !" 

" Before I am sworn I must beg to say one 
word," said Mr. Brownlow ; " and that is, 
that I never, without actual experience, could 
have believed " 

" Hold your tongue, sir !" said Mr. Fang 

"I will not, sir!" replied the old gentle- 


" Hold your tongue this instant, or I ^11 have 
you turned out of the office!" said Mr. Fang. 
" You ''re an insolent, impertinent fellow. How 
dare you bully a magistrate ! " 

" What ! "''' exclaimed the old gentleman, 

" Swear this person !" said Fang to the clerk. 
" I ll not hear another word. Swear him."" 

Mr. Brownlow's indignation was greatly 
roused ; but, reflecting that he might only 
injure the boy by giving vent to it, he sup- 
pressed his feelings, and submitted to be sworn 
at once. 

" Now,"" said Fang, " what 's the charge 
against this boy ? What have you got to say, 

" I was standing at a book-stall — " Mr. 
Brownlow began. 

*' Hold your tongue, sir ! " said Mr. Fang. 
" Policeman ! — where 's the policeman ? Here, 
swear this man. Now, policeman, what is 

The policeman with becoming humility re- 
lated how he had taken the charge, how he had 


searched Oliver, and found nothing on his per- 
son ; and how that was all he knew about it. 

"Are there any witnesses ? " inquired Mr. 

" None, your worship," replied the police- 

Mr. Fang sat silent for some minutes, and 
then, turning round to the prosecutor, said in a 
towering passion, 

" Do you mean to state what your complaint 
against this boy is, fellow, or do you not ? 
You have been sworn. Now, if you stand 
there, refusing to give evidence, I '11 punish you 

for disrespect to the bench ; I will, by " 

By what or by whom, nobody knows, for the 
clerk and jailer coughed very loud just at the 
right moment, and the former dropped a heavy 
book upon the floor ; thus preventing the word 
from being heard — accidentally, of course. 

With many interruptions, and repeated in- 
sults, Mr. Brownlow contrived to state his 
case ; observing that, in the surjmse of the mo- 
ment, he had run after the boy because he saw 
him running away, and expressing his hope 


that, if the magistrate should believe him, 
although not actually the thief, to be connected 
with thieves, he would deal as leniently with 
him as justice would allow. 

" He has been hurt already,'^ said the old 
gentleman in conclusion. " And I fear," he 
added, with great energy, looking towards the 
bar, — " I really fear that he is very ill." 

" Oh ! yes ; I dare say ! " said Mr. Fang, 
with a sneer. " Come ; none of your tricks 
here, you young vagabond; they won't do. 
Whafs your name ?" 

Oliver tried to reply, but his tongue failed 
him. He was deadly pale, and the whole place 
seemed turning round and round. 

" What's your name, you hardened scoun- 
drel?" thundered Mr. Fang. '' Officer, what's 
his name ? " 

This was addressed to a bluff old fellow in a 
striped, waistcoat, who was standing by the bar. 
He bent over Oliver, and repeated the inquiry ; 
but finding him really incapable of understand- 
ing the question, and knowing that his not 
replying would only infuriate the magistrate 


the more, and add to the severity of his 
sentence, he hazarded a guess. 

" He says his name's Tom White, your 
worship,"" said this kind-hearted thief-taker. 

'■' Oh, he won't speak out, won't he?" said 
Fang. " Very well, very well. Where does 
he live ? '' 

" Where he can, your worship," replied the 
officer, again pretending to receive Oliver's 

" Has he any parents ?" inquired Mr. Fang. 

" He says they died in his infancy, your 
worship," replied the officer, hazarding the 
usual reply. 

At this point of the inquiry Oliver raised his 
head, and, looking round with imploring eyes, 
murmured a feeble prayer for a draught of 

" Stuff and nonsense ! " said Mr. Fang ; 
" don't try to make a fool of me." 

" I think he really is ill, your worship," 
remonstrated the officer. 

" I know better," said Mr. Fang. 

VOL. I. I 


" Take care of him, officer,'"' said the old 
gentleman, raising his hands instinctively; 
"he'll fall down." 

" Stand away, officer," cried Fang savagely ; 
"let him if he likes." 

Oliver availed himself of the kind permission, 
and fell heavily to the floor in a fainting fit. 
The men in the office looked at each other, but 
no one dared to stir. 

" I knew he was shamming," said Fang, as 
if this were incontestable proof of the fact. 
" Let him lie ; he '11 soon be tired of that." 

" How do you propose to deal with the case, 
sir ? " inquired the clerk in a low voice. 

" Summarily," replied Mr. Fang. " He 
stands committed for three months, — hard la- 
bour of course. Clear the office." 

The door was opened for this purpose, and a 
couple of men were preparing to carry the in- 
sensible boy to his cell, when an elderly man 
of decent but poor appearance, clad in an old 
suit of black, rushed hastily into the office, and 
advanced to the bench. 

" Stop, stop, — don't take him away, — for 


Heaven''s sake stop a moment,''"' cried the new- 
comer, breathless with haste. 

Although the presiding geniuses in such an 
office as this, exercise a summary and arbitrary- 
power over the liberties, the good name, the 
character, almost the lives of Her Majesty's 
subjects, especially of the poorer class ; and 
although within such walls enough fantastic 
tricks are daily played to make the angels weep 
hot tears of blood, they are closed to the pub- 
lic, save through the medium of the daily press. 
Mr. Fang was consequently not a little indig- 
nant to see an unbidden guest enter in such 
irreverent disorder. 

" What is this? — who is this? Turn this 
man out. Clear the office," cried Mr. Fang. 

" I will speak,'' cried the man ; " I will not be 
turned out, — I saw it all. I keep the book- 
stall. I demand to be sworn. I will not be 
put down. Mr. Fang, you must hear me. 
You dare not refuse, sir." 

The man was right. His manner was bold 
and determined, and the matter was growing 
rather too serious to be hushed up. 

I 2 


" Swear the fellow,"'' growled Fang with a 
very ill grace. " Now, man, what have you 
got to say ? " 

" This," said the man : " I saw three boys — 
two others and the prisoner here — loitering on 
the opposite side of the way, when this gentle- 
man was reading. The robbery was committed 
by another boy. I saw it done, and I saw that 
this boy was perfectly amazed and stupified by 
it." Having by this time recovered a little 
breath, the worthy book-stall keeper proceeded 
to relate in a more coherent manner the exact 
circumstances of the robbery. 

" Why didn't you come here before?" said 
Fang after a pause. 

" I hadn't a soul to mind the shop," replied 
the man ; " everybody that could have helped 
me had joined in the pursuit. I could get 
nobody till five minutes ago, and I Ve run here 
all the way." 

"The prosecutor was reading, was he?" 
inquired Fang, after another pause. 

" Yes," replied the man, " the very book he 
has in his hand." 


" Oh, that book, eh?" said Fang. " Is it 
paid for ? " 

" No, it is not," replied the man, with a 

" Dear me, I forgot all about it ! " exclaimed 
the absent old gentleman, innocently. 

"A nice person to prefer a charge against a 
poor boy ! " said Fang, with a comical effort to 
look humane. " I consider, sir, that you have 
obtained possession of that book under very sus- 
picious and disreputable circumstances, and you 
may think yourself very fortunate that the 
owner of the property declines to prosecute. 
Let this be a lesson to you, my man, or the 
law will overtake you yet. The boy is dis- 
charged. Clear the ofRce ! " 

" D — n me !" cried the old gentleman, burst- 
ing out with the rage he had kept down so 

long, " d— me ! I '11 " 

" Clear the office ! " roared the magistrate. 
" Officers, do you hear? Clear the office !" 

Tlie mandate was obeyed, and the indignant 
Mr. Brownlow was conveyed out, with the 
book in one hand and the bamboo cane in the 


other in a perfect phrenzy of rage and defi- 

He reached the yard, and it vanished in a 
moment. Little OUver Twist lay on his back 
on the pavement, with his shirt unbuttoned and 
his temples bathed with water ; his face a dead- 
ly white, and a cold tremble convulsing his 
whole frame. 

" Poor boy, poor boy !" said Mr. Brownlow, 
bending over him. " Call a coach, somebody, 
pray, — directly ! '"* 

A coach was obtained, and Oliver, having 
been carefully laid on one seat, the old gentle- 
man got in and sat himself on the other. 

" May I accompany you?" said the book- 
stall keeper, looking in. 

" Bless me, yes, my dear friend," said Mr. 
Brownlow quickly. " I forgot you. Dear, 
dear ! I have this unhappy book still. Jump 
in. Poor fellow ! there ^s no time to lose." 

The book-stall keeper got into the coach, 
and away they drove. 




The coach rattled away down Mount Plea- 
sant and up Exmouth-street,-"Over nearly the 
same ground as that which Oliver had traversed 
when he first entered London in company with 
the Dodger, — and, turning a different way 
when it reached the Angel at Ishngton, stopped 
at length before a neat house in a quiet shady 
street near Pentonville. Here a bed was pre- 
pared without loss of time, in which Mr. Brown- 
low saw his young charge carefully and com- 
fortably deposited; and here he was tended 
with a kindness and solicitude which knew no 

But for many days Oliver remained insensible 


to all the goodness of his new friends ; the sun 
rose and sunk, and rose and sunk again, and 
many times after that, and still the boy lay 
stretched upon his uneasy bed, dwindling away 
beneath the dry and wasting heat of fever, — 
that heat which, like the subtle acid that gnaws 
into the very heart of hardest iron^ burns only 
to corrode and to destroy. The worm does not 
his work more surely on the dead body, than 
does this slow creeping fire upon the living 

Weak, and thin, and pallid, he awoke at 
last from what seemed to have been a long and 
troubled dream. Feebly raising himself in the 
bed, with his head resting on his trembling arm, 
he looked anxiously round. 

" What room is this ? — where have I been 
brought to?" said Oliver. " This is not the 
place I went to sleep in." 

He uttered these words in a feeble voice, 
being very faint and weak ; but they were over- 
heard at once, for the curtain at the bed''s head 
was hastily drawn back, and a motherly old 
lady, very neatly and precisely dressed, rose as 


she undrew it, from an arm-chair close by, in 
which she had been sitting at needle- work. 

" Hush, my dear," said the old lady softly. 
" You must be very quiet, or you will be ill 
again, and you have been very bad, — as bad 
as bad could be, pretty nigh. Lie down again 
— there 's a dear," With these words the old 
lady very gently placed Oliver's head upon the 
pillow, and, smoothing back his hair from his 
forehead, looked so kindly and lovingly in his 
face, that he could not help placing his little 
withered hand upon hers, and drawing it round 
his neck. 

*' Save us !"" said the old lady, with tears in 
her eyes, " what a grateful little dear it is. 
Pretty creetur ! what would his mother feel if 
she had sat by him as I have, and could see 
him now ! " 

" Perhaps she does see me," whispered Oli- 
ver, folding his hands together; "perhaps she has 
sat by me, ma'am. I almost feel as if she had." 

" That was the fever, my dear," said the old 
lady mildly. 

" I suppose it was," replied Oliver thought- 



fully, " because heaven is a long way off, and 
they are too happy there to come down to the 
bedside of a poor boy. But if she knew I was 
ill, she must have pitied me even there, for she 
was very ill herself before she died. She can't 
know anything about me though," added Oliver 
after a moment's silence, " for if she had seen 
me beat, it would have made her sorrowful; 
and her face has always looked sweet and happy 
when I have dreamt of her.'' 

The old lady made no reply to this, but 
wiping her eyes first, and her spectacles, which 
lay on the counterpane, afterwards, as if they 
were part and parcel of those features, brought 
some cool stuff for Oliver to drink, and then 
patting him on the cheek, told him he must lie 
very quiet, or he would be ill again. 

So Oliver kept very still, partly because he 
was anxious to obey the kind old lady in all 
things, and partly, to tell the truth, because he 
was completely exhausted with what he had 
already said. He soon fell into a gentle doze, 
from which he was awakened by the light of a 
candle, which, being brought near the bed. 


showed him a gentleman, with a very large 
and loud-ticking gold watch in his hand, who 
felt his pulse and said he was a great deal 

" You are a great deal better, are you not, 
my dear?" said the gentleman. 

" Yes, thank you, sir," replied Oliver. 

" Yes, I know you are," said the gentleman : 
" You're hungry too, an't you ?" 

" No, sir," answered Oliver. 

" Hem !" said the gentleman. " No, I know 
you 're not. He is not hungry, Mrs. Bedwin," 
said the gentleman, looking very wise. 

The old lady made a respectful inclination of 
the head, which seemed to say that she thought 
the doctor was a very clever man. The doctor 
appeared very much of the same opinion him- 

" You feel sleepy, don't you, my dear?" 
said the doctor. 

" No, sir," replied Oliver. 

"• No," said the doctor with a very shrewd 
and satisfied look. " You're not sleepy. 
Nor thirsty, are you ? " 


" Yes, sir, rather thirsty," answered Oliver. 

" Just as I expected, Mrs. Bedwiii," said the 
doctor. " It ""s very natural that he should be 
thirsty — perfectly natural. You may give him 
a little tea, ma'am, and some dry toast without 
any butter. Don't keep him too warm, ma'am ; 
but be careful that you don't let .him be too 
cold — will you have the goodness ? " 

The old lady dropped a curtsey ; and the 
doctor, after tasting the cool stuiF, and express- 
ing a qualified approval thereof, hurried away : 
his boots creaking in a very important and 
w^ealthy manner as he went down stairs. 

Oliver dozed off again soon after this, and 
when he awoke it was nearly twelve o'clock. 
The old lady tenderly bade him good-night 
shortly afterwards, and left him in charge of a 
fat old woman who had just come, bringing 
with her in a little bundle a small Prayer 
Book and a large nightcap. Putting the latter 
on her head, and the former on the table, the 
old woman, after telling Oliver that she had 
come to sit up with him, drew her chair close 
to the fire and went off into a series of short 


naps, chequered at frequent intervals with sun- 
dry tumblings forward, and divers moans and 
chokings, which, however, had no worse effect 
than causing her to rub her nose very hard, and 
then fall asleep again. 

And thus the night crept slowly on. Oliver 
lay awake for some time, counting the little cir- 
cles of light which the reflection of the rushlight- 
shade threw upon the ceiling, or tracing with 
his languid eyes the intricate pattern of the 
paper on the wall. The darkness and deep 
stillness of the room were very solemn ; and as 
they brought into the boy's mind the thought 
that death had been hovering there for many 
days and nights, and might yet fill it with the 
gloom and dread of his awful presence, he turn- 
ed his face upon the pillow, and fervently prayed 
to Heaven. 

Gradually he fell into that deep tranquil 
sleep which ease from recent suffering alone im- 
parts ; that calm and peaceful rest which it is 
pain to wake from. Who, if this were death, 
would be roused again to all the struggles and 
turmoils of life, — to all its cares for the present. 


its anxieties for the future, and, more than all, 
its weary recollections of the past ! 

It had been bright day for hours when Oliver 
opened his eyes, and when he did so, he felt 
cheerful and happy. The crisis of the disease 
was safely past, and he belonged to the world 

In three days' time he was able to sit in an 
easy-chair well propped up with pillows ; and, 
as he was still too weak to walk, Mrs. Bedwin 
had him carried down stairs into the little 
house-keeper's room, which belonged to her, 
where having sat him up by the fireside, the 
good old lady sat herself down too, and, being 
in a state of considerable delight at seeing him 
so much better, forthwith began to cry most 

" Never mind me, my dear,'' said the old 
lady ; '' I 'm only having a regular good cry. 
There ; it 's all over now, and I 'm quite com- 

" You 're very, very kind to me, ma'am," 
said Oliver. 

" Well, never you mind that, my dear," said 


the old lady; *' that's got nothing to do with 
your broth, and it's full time you had it, for the 
doctor says Mr. Brownlow may come in to see 
you this morning, and we must get up our best 
looks, because the better we look the more 
he'll be pleased." And with this, the old 
lady applied herself to warming up in a little 
saucepan a basin full of broth, strong enough 
to furnish an ample dinner, when reduced 
to the regulation strength, for three hundred 
and fifty paupers, at the very lowest compu- 

" Are you fond of pictures, dear.^^" inquired 
the old lady, seeing that OHver had fixed his 
eyes most intently on a portrait which hung 
against the wall just opposite his chair. 

" I don't quite know, ma'am," said Oliver, 
without taking his eyes from the canvass ; " I 
have seen so few that I hardly know. What a 
beautiful, mild face that lady's is ! " 

" Ah !" said the old lady, " painters always 
make ladies out prettier than they are, or they 
wouldn't get any custom, child. The man that 
invented the machine for taking likenesses 


might have known that would never succeed; 
it's a deal too honest, — a deal,-' said the old 
lady, laughing very heartily at her own acute- 

" Is — is that a likeness, ma''am ?*" said Oliver. 

" Yes,"" said the old lady, looking up for a 
moment from the broth ; " that 's a portrait." 

" Whose, ma'am?'"* asked Oliver eagerly. 

" Why, really, my dear, I don't know," 
answered the old lady in a good-humoured 
manner. " It 's not a likeness of anybody that 
you or I know, I expect. It seems to strike 
your fancy, dear." 

" It is so very pretty — so very beautifid," 
replied Oliver. 

" Why, sure you're not afraid of it?" said 
the old lady, observing in great surprise the look 
of awe with which the child regarded the paint- 

" Oh no, no," returned Oliver quickly ; " but 
the eyes look so sorrowful, and where I sit they 
seem fixed upon me. It makes my heart beat," 
added Oliver in a low voice, '' as if it was 
alive, and wanted to speak to me, but couldn't." 


" Lord save us ! " exclaimed the old lady, 
starting ; " don't talk in that way, child. 
You're weak and nervous after your illness. 
Let me wheel your chair round to the other 
side, and then you won't see it. There," said 
the old lady, suiting the action to the word ; 
" you don't see it now, at all events." 

Oliver did see it in his mind's eye as distinct- 
ly as if he had not altered his position, but he 
thought it better not to worry the kind old 
lady ; so he smiled gently when she looked at 
him, and Mrs. Bedwin, satisfied that he felt 
more comfortable, salted and broke bits of 
toasted bread into the broth with all the bustle 
befitting so solemn a preparation. Oliver got 
through it with extraordinary expedition, and 
had scarcely swallowed the last spoonful when 
there came a soft tap at the door. " Come 
in," said the old lady; and in walked Mr. 

Now, the old gentleman came in as brisk as 
need be ; but he had no sooner raised his spec- 
tacles on his forehead, and thrust his hands 
behind the skirts of his dressing-gown to take a 


good long look at Oliver, than his countenance 
underwent a very great variety of odd contor- 
tions. Oliver looked very worn and shadowy 
from sickness, and made an ineffectual attempt 
to stand up, out of respect to his benefactor, 
which terminated in his sinking back into the 
chair again ; and the fact is, if the truth must 
be told, that Mr. Brownlow''s heart being large 
enough for any six ordinary old gentlemen of 
humane disposition, forced a supply of tears into 
his eyes by some hydraulic process which we 
are not sufficiently philosophical to be in a con- 
dition to explain. 

" Poor boy, poor boy I" said Mr. Brownlow, 
clearing his throat. " I 'm rather hoarse this 
morning, Mrs. Bedwin; I'm afraid I have 
caught cold." 

'' T hope not, sir," said Mrs. Bedwin. 
" Everything you have had, has been well aired, 

" I don't know, Bedwin, — I don't know," 
said Mr. Brownlow ; "I rather think I had a 
damp napkin at dinner-time yesterday: but 
never mind that. How do you feel, my dear ?" 

y^&^^y^-e^y A.<^^k7-l/s4^y9t^/4^/9Zy ^^y/^^^A< 

T , on don . EicTi ar d Ben '■ J 


" Very happy, sir," replied Oliver, and 
very grateful indeed, sir, for your goodness 
to me." 

" Good boy," said Mr. Brownlow stoutly. 
" Have you given him any nourishment. Bed- 
win ? — any slops, eh ? " 

" He has just had a basin of beautiful strong 
broth, sir," replied Mrs. Bedwin, drawing her- 
self up slightly, and laying a strong emphasis 
on the last word, to intimate that between 
slops, and broth well compounded, there existed 
no affinity or connexion whatsoever. 

" Ugh ! " said Mr. Brownlow, with a slight 
shudder ; "a couple of glasses of port wine 
would have done him a great deal more good, 
—wouldn't they, Tom White,— eh?" 

" My name is Oliver, sir," replied the little 
invalid with a look of great astonishment. 

*' Oliver," said Mr. Brownlow ; " Oliver 
what ? Oliver White,— eh ? " 

" No, sir. Twist,— Oliver Twist." 
" Queer name," said the old gentleman. 
What made you tell the magistrate your name 
was White?" 


" I never told him so, sir,'" returned Oliver 
in amazement. 

This sounded so like a falsehood, that the 
old gentleman looked somewhat sternly in Oli- 
ver's face. It was impossible to doubt him ; 
there was truth in every one of its thin and 
sharpened lineaments. 

" Some mistake," said Mr. Brownlow. 
But, although his motive for looking steadily at 
Oliver no longer existed, the old idea of the 
resemblance between his features and some 
familiar face came upon him so strongly that 
he could not withdraw his gaze. 

" I hope you are not angry with me, sir ?" 
said Oliver, raising his eyes beseechingly. 

" No, no," replied the old gentleman. — 
" Gracious God, what 's this ! — Bedwin, look, 
look there!" 

As he spoke, he pointed hastily to the pic- 
ture above Oliver's head, and then to the boy's 
face. There was its living copy, — the eyes, 
the head, the mouth ; every feature was the 
same. The expression was for the instant so 
precisely alike, that the minutest line seemed 


copied with an accuracy which was perfectly 

Oliver knew not the cause of this sudden 
exclamation, for he was not strong enough 
to bear the start it gave him, and he fainted 




When the Dodger and his accomplished 
friend Master Bates joined in the hue-and-cry 
which was raised at OKver's heels, in conse- 
quence of their executing an illegal conveyance 
of Mr. Brownlow'^s personal property, as has 
been already described with great perspicuity 
in a foregoing chapter, they were actuated, as 
we therein took occasion to observe, by a very 
laudable and becoming regard for themselves : 
and forasmuch as the freedom of the subject 
and the liberty of the individual are among the 


first and proudest boasts of a true-liearted Eng- 
lishman, so I need hardly beg the reader to ob- 
serve that this action must tend to exalt them 
in the opinion of all public and patriotic men, in 
almost as great a degree as this strong proof of 
their anxiety for their own preservation and 
safety goes to corroborate and confirm the little 
code of laws which certain profound and sound- 
judging philosophers have laid down as the 
mainsprings of all Nature's deeds and actions ; 
the said philosophers very wisely reducing the 
good lady's proceedings to matters of maxim 
and theory, and by a very neat and pretty 
compliment to her exalted wisdom and under- 
standing, putting entirely out of sight any con- 
siderations of heart, or generous impulse and 
feeling, as matters totally beneath a female who 
is acknowledged by universal admission to be so 
far beyond the numerous little foibles and weak- 
nesses of her sex. 

If I wanted any further proof of the strictly 
philosophical nature of the conduct of these 
young gentlemen in their very delicate predica- 
ment, I should at once find it in the fact (also 


recorded in a foregoing part of this narrative) of 
their quitting the pursuit when the general at- 
tention was fixed upon Oliver, and making im- 
mediately for their home by the shortest possi- 
ble cut ; for although I do not mean to assert 
that it is the practice of renowned and learned 
sages at all to shorten the road to any great 
conclusion, their course indeed being rather to 
lengthen the distance by various circumlocutions 
and discursive staggerings, like unto those in 
which drunken men under the pressure of a too 
mighty flow of ideas are prone to indulge, still I 
do mean to say, and do say distinctly, that it is 
the invariable practice of all mighty philoso- 
phers, in carrying out their theories, to evince 
great wisdom and foresight in providing against 
every possible contingency which can be sup- 
posed at all likely to affect themselves. Thus, 
to do a great right, you may do a little wrong, 
and you may take any means which the end to 
be attained will justify ; the amount of the right 
or the amount of the wrong, or indeed the dis- 
tinction between the two, being left entirely to 
the philosopher concerned: to be settled and 


determined by his clear, comprehensive, and im- 
partial view of his own particular case. 

It was not until the two boys had scoured 
with great rapidity through a most intricate 
maze of narrow streets and courts, that they 
ventured to halt by one consent beneath a 
low and dark archway. Having remained si- 
lent here, just long enough to recover breath to 
speak, Master Bates uttered an exclamation of 
amusement and delight, and, bursting into an 
uncontrollable fit of laughter, flung himself upon 
a door-step, and rolled thereon in a transport of 

'• What's the matter?" inquired the Dodger. 

" Ha ! ha ! ha !" roared Charley Bates. 

" Hold your noise,"' remonstrated the Dod- 
ger, looking cautiously round. " Do you want 
to be grabbed, stupid?" 

" I can't help it," said Charley, '' I can't 
help it. To see him splitting away at that 
pace, and cutting round the corners, and knock- 
ing up against the posts, and starting on again 
as if he was made of iron as well as them, and 
me wdth the wipe in my pocket, singing out 

VOL. I. K 


arter him — oh, my eye !"" The vivid imagina- 
tion of Master Bates presented the scene before 
him in too strong colours. As he arrived at 
this apostrophe, he again rolled upon the door- 
step, and laughed louder than before. 

" What '11 Fagin say?" inquired the Dodger, 
taking advantage of the next interval of breath- 
lessness on the part of his friend to propound 
the question. 

" What !" repeated Charley Bates. 

" Ah, what.^" said the Dodger. 
"Why, what should he say.^" inquired 
Charley, stopj^ing rather suddenly in his merri- 
ment, for the Dodger\s manner was impressive ; 
" what should he say .^" 

Mr. Dawkins whistled for a couple of mi- 
nutes, and then, taking off his hat, scratched his 
head and nodded thrice. 

" What do you mean .^" said Charley. 
" Toor rul lol loo, gammon and spinnage, 
the frog he wouldn't, and high cockolorum,'' 
said the Dodger, with a slight sneer on his in- 
tellectual countenance. 

This was explanatory, but not satisfactory. 


Master Bates felt it so, and again said, " What 
do you mean ? "' 

The Dodger made no reply, but putting his 
hat on again, and gathering the skirts of his 
long-tailed coat under his arms, thrust his 
tongue into his cheek, slapped the bridge of his 
nose some half-dozen times in a familiar but ex- 
pressive manner, and turning on his heel, slunk 
down the court. Master Bates followed, 
with a thoughtful countenance. The noise of 
footsteps on the creaking stairs a few minutes 
after the occurrence of this conversation roused 
the merry old gentleman as he sat over the fire 
with a saveloy and a small loaf in his left hand, 
a pocket knife in his right, and a pewter pot 
on the trivet. There was a rascally smile on 
his white face as he turned round, and, look- 
ing sharply out from under his thick red eye- 
brows, bent his ear towards the door and listen- 
ed intently. 

"Why, how's this?" muttered the Jew, 
changing countenance ; " only two of 'em I 
Where 's the third ? They can't have got into 
trouble. Hark!" 

K 2 


The footsteps approached nearer ; they reach- 
ed the landing, the door was slowly opened, 
and the Dodger and Charley Bates entered 
and closed it behind them. 

"Where's Oliver?" said the furious Jew, 
rising with a menacing look : " where 's the 

The young thieves eyed their preceptor as if 
they were alarmed at his violence, and looked 
uneasily at each other, but made no reply. 

" What's become of the boy ?" said the Jew, 
seizing the Dodger tightly by the collar, and 
threatening him with horrid imprecations. 
" Speak out, or I'll throttle you !" 

Mr. Fagiu looked so very much in earnest, 
that Charley Bates, who deemed it prudent in 
all cases to be on the safe side, and conceived it 
by no means improbable that it might be his 
turn to be throttled second, dropped upon his 
knees, and raised a loud, well-sustained, and 
continuous roar, something between an insane 
bull and a speaking-trumpet. 

" Will you speak ? " thundered the Jew, 
shaking the Dodger so much that his keeping 


ill the big coat at all seemed perfectly mira- 

" Why, the traps have got him, and that 's 
all about it,"" said the Dodger sullenly. " Come, 
let go o' me, will you I " and, swinging himself 
at one jerk clean out of the big coat, which he 
left in the Jew's hands, the Dodger snatched up 
the toasting-fork and made a pass at the merry 
old gentleman''s waistcoat, which, if it had 
taken effect, would have let a little more merri- 
ment out than could have been easily replaced 
in a month or two. 

The Jew stepped back in this emergency 
with more agility than could have been antici- 
pated in a man of his apparent decrepitude, 
and, seizing up the pot, prepared to hurl it 
at his assailant's head. But Charley Bates at 
this moment calling his attention by a per- 
fectly terrific howl, he suddenly altered its 
destination, and flung it full at that young gen- 

" Why, what the blazes is in the wind now ! " 
growled a deep voice. " Who pitched that 
'ere at me ? It 's well it 's the beer, and not the 


pot, as hit me, or I M have settled somebody. 
I might have know'd, as nobody but an infernal, 
rich, plundering, thundering old Jew could afford 
to throw away any drink but water, and not 
that, unless he done the River company every 
quarter. Wot 's it all about, Fagin ? D — me, 
if my neckankecher an''t lined with beer. Come 
in, you sneaking warmint ; wot are you stop- 
ping outside for, as if you was ashamed of your 
master. Come in ! "" 

The man who growled out these words was 
a stoutly-built fellow of about five-and- thirty, 
in a black velveteen coat, very soiled drab 
breeches, lace-up half-boots, and grey cotton 
stockings, which enclosed a very bulky pair of 
legs, with large swelling calves, — the kind of 
legs which in such costume always look in an 
unfinished and incomplete state without a set of 
fetters to garnish them. He had a brown hat 
on his head, and a dirty belcher handkerchief 
round his neck, with the long frayed ends of 
which he smeared the beer from his face as he 
spoke : disclosing, when he had done so, a broad 
heavy countenance with a beard of three days^ 


growth, and two scowling eyes, one of which 
displayed various parti-coloured symptoms of 
having been recently damaged by a blow. 

"Come in, d'ye hear?" growled this en- 
gaging-looking ruffian. A white shaggy dog, 
with his face scratched and torn in twenty dif- 
ferent places, skulked into the room. 

" Why didn't you come in afore .'^ " said the 
man. " You 're getting too proud to own me 
afore company, are you ? Lie down ! " 

This command was accompanied with a 
kick which sent the animal to the other end of 
the room. He appeared well used to it, how- 
ever ; for he coiled himself up in a corner, very 
quietly without uttering a sound, and, wink- 
ing his very ill-looking eyes about twenty times 
in a minute, appeared to occupy himself in 
taking a survey of the apartment. 

" What are you up to ? Ill-treating the 
boys, you covetous, avaricious in-sa-ti-a-ble old 
fence?" said the man, seating himself delibe- 
rately. " I wonder they don't murder you ; / 
would if I was them. If I 'd been your 'pren- 
tice, I'd have done it long ago; and — no, I 


couldn't have sold you arterwards, though ; for 
you 're fit for nothmg but keeping as a curiosity 
of ugliness in a glass bottle, and I suppose they 
don't blow them large enough." 

" Hush ! hush ! Mr. Sikes," said the Jew, 
trembling ; " don't speak so loud." 

" None of your mistering," replied the ruf- 
fian ; " you always mean mischief when you 
come that. You know my name : out with it. 
I shan't disgrace it when the time comes." 

" Well, well, then—Bill Sikes," said the Jew 
with abject humility. " You seem out of hu- 
mour, Bill." 

" Perhaps I am," replied Sikes. *■' I should 
think you were rather out of sorts too, unless 
you mean as little harm when you throw pew- 
ter pots about, as you do when you blab and 

" Are you mad?" said the Jew, catching the 
man by the sleeve, and pointing towards the 

Mr. Sikes contented himself with tying an 
imaginary knot under his left ear, and jerking 
his head over on the right shoulder ; a piece of 


dumb show which the Jew appeared to under- 
stand perfectly. He then in cant terms, with 
which his whole conversation was plentifully 
besprinkled, but which would be quite unintelli- 
gible if they were recorded here, demanded a 
glass of hquor. 

'* And mind you don't poison it," said Mr. 
Sikes, laying his hat upon the table. 

This was said in jest ; but if the speaker 
could have seen the evil leer with which the 
Jew bit his pale lip as he turned round to the 
cupboard, he might have thought the caution 
not wholly unnecessary, or the wish (at all 
events,) to improve upon the distiller's ingenuity 
not very far from the old gentleman's merry 

After swallowing two or three glassfulls of 
spirits, Mr. Sikes condescended to take some 
notice of the young gentlemen ; which gracious 
act led to a conversation in which the cause and 
manner of Oliver's capture were circumstantially 
detailed, with such alterations and improvements 
on the truth as to the Dodger appeared most 
advisable under the circumstances. 

K 5 


" I 'm afraid," said the Jew, " that he may 
say something which will get us. into trouble." 

" That's very likely," returned Sikes with 
a malicious grin. " You 're bio wed upon, 

" And I 'm afraid, you see," added the Jew, 
speaking as if he had not noticed the interrup- 
tion, and regarding the other closely as he did 
so, — " I 'm afraid that, if the game was up with 
us, it might be up with a good many more ; and 
that it would come out rather worse for you 
than it would for me, my dear." 

The man started, and turned fiercely round 
upon the Jew; but the old gentleman's shoul- 
ders were shrugged up to his ears, and his eyes 
were vacantly staring on the opposite wall. 

There was a long pause. Every member of 
the respectable coterie appeared plunged in his 
own reflections, not excepting the dog, who 
by a certain malicious licking of his lips seemed 
tq be meditating an attack upon the legs of the 
first gentleman or lady he might encounter in 
the streets when he went out. 

" Somebody must find out what 's been done 


at the office," said Mr. Sikes in a much lower 
tone than he had taken since he came in. 

The Jew nodded assent. 

'' If he hasn''t peached, and is committed, 
there's no fear till he comes out again," said 
Mr. Sikes, " and then he must be taken care 
on. You must get hold of him, somehow." 

Again the Jew nodded. 

The prudence of this line of action, indeed, 
was obvious, but unfortunately there was one 
very strong objection to its being adopted ; and 
this was, that the Dodger, and Charley Bates, 
and Fagin, and Mr. William Sikes, happened 
one and all to entertain a most violent and deep- 
ly-rooted antipathy to going near a police-office 
on any ground or pretext whatever. 

How long they might have sat and looked at 
each other in a state of uncertainty not the 
most pleasant of its kind, it is difficult to say. 
It is not necessary to make any guesses on 
the subject, however ; for the sudden entrance 
of the two young ladies whom Oliver had seen 
on a former occasion caused the conversation to 
flow afresh. 


"The very thing!" said the Jew. "Bet 
will go; won't you, my dear?" 

" Wheres?" inquired the young lady. 

" Only just up to the office, my dear," said 
the Jew coaxingly. 

It is due to the young lady to say that she 
did not positively affirm that she would not, but 
that she merely expressed an emphatic and earn- 
est desire to be " blessed " if she would ; a polite 
and delicate evasion of the request, which shows 
the young lady to have been possessed of that 
natural good-breeding which cannot bear to inflict 
upon a fellow-creature the pain of a direct and 
pointed refusal. 

The Jew's countenance fell, and he turned 
from this young lady, who was gaily, not to say 
gorgeously attired, in a red gown, green boots, 
and yellow curl-papers, to the other female. 

" Nancy, my dear," said the Jew in a sooth- 
ing manner, " what do you say ?" 

" That it won't do ; so it 's no use a-trying it 
on, Fagin," replied Nancy. 

" What do you mean by that?" said Mr. 
Sikes. looking up in a surly manner. 


" What I say, Bill," replied the lady collect- 

" Why, youVe just the very person for it," 
reasoned Mr. Sikes : " nobody about here 
knows anything of you." 

" And as I don*'t want ""em to, neither," 
replied Nancy in the same composed man- 
ner, " it ""s rather more no than yes with me. 

" She'll go, Fagin," said Sikes. 

" No, she won't, Fagin," bawled Nancy. 

" Yes, she will, Fagin," said Sikes. 

And Mr. Sikes was right. By dint of al- 
ternate threats, promises, and bribes, the 
female in question was ultimately prevailed 
upon to undertake the commission. She was 
not indeed withheld by the same considerations 
as her agreeable friend, for having very recently 
removed into the neighbourhood of Field-lane 
from the remote but genteel suburb of Ratcliffe, 
she was not under the same apprehension of 
being recognised by any of her numerous ac- 

Accordingly, with a clean white apron tied 


over her gown, and her curl-papers tucked 
up under a straw bonnet, — both articles of dress 
being provided from the Jew^s inexhaustible 
stock, — Miss Nancy prepared to issue forth on 
her errand. 

" Stop a minute, my dear,*' said the Jew, 
producing a little covered basket. " Carry that 
in one hand ; it looks more respectable, my 

" Give her a door-key to carry in her fother 
one, Fagin," said Sikes ; " it looks real and 
genivine like." 

" Yes, yes, my dear, so it does," said the 
Jew, hanging a large street-door key on the 
fore-finger of the young lady''s right hand. 
"There; very good, — very good indeed, my 
dear," said the Jew, rubbing his hands. 

" Oh, my brother ! my poor, dear, sweet, 
innocent little brother !" exclaimed Nancy, 
bursting into tears, and wringing the little bas- 
ket and the street-door key in an agony of dis- 
tress. " What has become of him ! — where 
have they taken him to ! Oh, do have pity, 
and tell me what's been done with the dear 


boy, gentlemen ; do, gentlemen, if you please, 

Having uttered these words in a most lamen- 
table and heart-broken tone, to the immeasura- 
ble delight of her hearers, Miss Nancy paused, 
winked to the company, nodded smilingly round, 
and disappeared. 

" Ah ! she 's a clever girl, my dears," said 
the Jew, turning round to his young friends, 
and shaking his head gravely, as if in mute 
admonition to them to follow the bright example 
they had just beheld. 

She''s a honour to her sex," said Mr. Sikes, 
filling his glass, and smiting the table with his 
enormous fist. " Here 's her health, and wish- 
ing they was all like her ! " 

While these and many other encomiums were 
being passed on the accomplished Nancy, 
that young lady made the best of her way to 
the police-office ; whither, notwithstanding a 
little natural timidity consequent upon walking 
through the streets alone and unprotected, she 
arrived in perfect safety shortly afterwards. 

Entering by the back way, she tapped softly 


with the key at one of the cell-doors, and listen- 
ed. There was no sound within, so she cough- 
ed and listened again. Still there was no 
reply, so she spoke. 

" Nolly, dear?'"* murmured Nancy in a gen- 
tle voice;—" Nolly?" 

There was nobody inside but a miserable 
shoeless criminal, who had been taken up for 
playing the flute, and who — the offence against 
society having been clearly proved — had been 
very properly committed by Mr. Fang to the 
House of Correction for one month, with the 
appropriate and amusing remark that since he 
had so much breath to spare, it would be 
much more wholesomely expended on the tread- 
mill than in a musical instrument. He made 
no answer, being occupied in mentally bewaihng 
the loss of the flute, which had been confiscated 
for the use of the county ; so Nancy passed 
on to the next cell, and knocked there. 

" Well," cried a faint and feeble voice. 

" Is there a Httle boy here ?" inquired Nancy 
with a preliminary sob. 

" No," replied the voice ; " God forbid !" 


.This was a vagrant of sixty-five, who was 
going to prison for not playing the flute, or, in 
other words, for begging in the streets, and 
doing nothing for his livehhood. In the next 
cell was another man, who was going to the 
same prison for hawking tin saucepans without 
a licence : thereby doing something for his living 
in defiance of the Stamp-ofiice. 

But, as neither of these criminals answered to 
the name of Oliver, or knew anything about 
him, Nancy made straight up to the bluff 
officer in the striped waistcoat, and with the 
most piteous wailings and lamentations, ren- 
dered more piteous by a prompt and efficient 
use of the street-door key and the little basket, 
demanded her own dear brother. 

" I haven't got him, my dear," said the old 

'' Where is he?'"* screamed Nancy in a dis- 
tracted manner. 

"" Why, the gentleman 's got him," replied 
the officer. 

" What gentleman ? — Oh, gracious heavens ! 
what gentleman ?" exclaimed Nancy. 


In reply to this incoherent questioning, the 
old man informed the deeply aiFected sister 
that Oliver had been taken ill in the office, and 
discharged in consequence of a witness having 
proved the robbery to have been committed by 
another boy not in custody ; and that the pro- 
secutor had carried him away in an insensible 
condition to his own residence, of and concern- 
ing which all the informant knew was, that it 
was somewhere at Pentonville ; he having heard 
that word mentioned in the directions to the 

In a dreadful state of doubt and uncertainty 
the agonised young woman staggered to the 
gate, and then,— -exchanging her faltering gait 
for a good swift steady run, returned by the 
most devious and complicated route she could 
think of, to the domicile of the Jew. 

Mr. Bill Sikes no sooner heard the account of 
the expedition delivered, than he very hastily 
called up the white dog, and, putting on his hat, 
expeditiously departed, without devoting any 
time to the formality of wishing the company 


" We must know where he is, my dears ; 
he must be found,'" said the Jew, greatly 
excited. " Charley, do nothing but skulk 
about, till you bring home some news of him. 
Nancy, my dear, I must have him found : I 
trust to you, my dear, — to you and the Artful 
for everything. Stay, stay," added the Jew, 
unlocking a drawer with a shaking hand ; 
" there 's money, my dears. I shall shut up 
this shop to-night : you 11 know where to find 
me. Don't stop here a minute, — not an in- 
stant, my dears ! " 

With these words he pushed them from the 
room, and carefully double-locking and barring 
the door behind them, drew from its place of 
concealment the box which he had unintention- 
ally disclosed to Oliver, and hastily proceeded 
to dispose the watches and jewellery beneath 
his clothing. 

A rap at the door startled him in this occu- 
pation. " Who's there?" he cried in a shrill 
tone of alarm. 

'^ Me ! " replied the voice of the Dodger 
through the key-hole. 


" What now?" cried the Jew hnpatiently. 

'* Is he to be kidnapped to the other ken, 
Nancy says ?'' inquired the Dodger cautiously. 

" Yes," replied the Jew, " wherever she lays 
hands on him. Find him, find him out, that 's 
all. I shall know what to do next, never 

The boy murmured a reply of intelligence, 
and hurried down stairs after his companions. 

" He has not peached so far," said the Jew 
as he pursued his occupation. " If he means to 
blab us among his new friends, we may stop his 
windpipe yet." 





Oliver soon recovered from the fainting-fit 
into which Mr. Brownlow's abrupt exclamation 
had thrown him ; and the subject of the picture 
was carefully avoided, both by the old gentle- 
man and Mrs. Bedwin, in the conversation that 
ensued, which indeed bore no reference to Oli- 
ver's history or prospects, but was confined to 
such topics as might amuse without exciting 
him. He was still too weak to get up to 
breakfast ; but, when he came down into the 
housekeeper's room next day, his first act was 
to cast an eager glance at the wall, in the hope 
of again looking on the face of the beautiful 


lady. His expectations were disappointed, how- 
ever, for the picture had been removed. 

" Ah !" said the housekeeper, watching the 
direction of Oliver's eyes. " It is gone, you 

'* I see it is, ma'am,"' replied Oliver, with a 
sigh. " Why have they taken it away ?"" 

" It has been taken down, child, because Mr. 
Brownlow said, that, as it seemed to worry 
you, perhaps it might prevent your getting 
well, you know," rejoined the old lady. 

" Oh, no, indeed it didn't worry me, ma'am," 
said Oliver. " I liked to see it ; I quite 
loved it." 

" Well, well !" said the old lady, good- 
humouredly ; " you get well as fast as ever you 
can, dear, and it shall be hung up again. 
There, I promise you that ; now let us talk 
about something else." 

This was all the information Oliver could 
obtain about the picture at that time, and as 
the old lady had been so kind to him in his 
illness, he endeavoured to think no more of the 
subject just then ; so listened attentively to a 


great many stories she told him about an amia- 
ble and handsome daughter of hers, who was 
married to an amiable and handsome man, and 
lived in the country ; and a son, who was clerk 
to a merchant in the West Indies, and who 
was also such a good young man, and wrote 
such dutiful letters home four times a year, 
that it brought the tears into her eyes to talk 
about them. When the old lady had expati- 
ated a long time on the excellences of her chil- 
dren, and the merits of her kind good husband 
besides, who had been dead and gone, poor 
dear soul ! just six-and-twenty years, it was 
time to have tea ; and after tea she began to 
teach Oliver cribbage, which he learnt as quickly 
as she could teach, and at which game they 
played, with great interest and gravity, until it 
was time for the invalid to have some warm 
wine and water, with a slice of dry toast, and 
to go cosily to bed. 

They were happy days those of Oliver's reco- 
very. Everything was so quiet, and neat, and 
orderly : everybody so kind and gentle, that 
after the noise and turbulence in the midst of 


which he had always lived, it seemed like 
heaven itself. He was no sooner strong enough 
to put his clothes on properly, than Mr. Brown- 
low caused a complete new suit, and a new cap, 
and a new pair of shoes, to be provided for him. 
As Oliver was told that he might do what he 
liked with the old clothes, he gave them to a 
servant who had been very kind to him, and 
asked her to sell them to a Jew, and keep the 
money for herself. This she very readily did ; 
and, as Oliver looked out of the parlour win- 
dow, and saw the Jew roll them up in his bag 
and walk away, he felt quite delighted to think 
that they were safely gone, and that there was 
now no possible danger of his ever being able to 
wear them again. They were sad rags, to tell 
the truth ; and Oliver had never had a new suit 

One evening, about a week after the affair 
of the picture, as he was sitting talking to 
Mrs. Bedwin, there came a message down from 
Mr. Brownlow, that if Ohver Twist felt pretty 
well, he should like to see him in his study, and 
talk to him a little while. 


" Bless us, and save us ! wash your hands, 
and let me part your hair nicely for you, child," 
said Mrs. Bed win. '' Dear heart alive ! if we 
had known he would have asked for you, we 
would have put you a clean collar on, and made 
you as smart as sixpence." 

Oliver did as the old lady bade him, and, 
although she lamented grievously meanwhile 
that there was not even time to crimp the little 
frill that bordered his shirt-collar, he looked so 
delicate and handsome, despite that important 
personal advantage, that she went so far as to 
say, looking at him with great complacency 
from head to foot, that she really didn't think 
it would have been possible on the longest 
notice to have made much difference in him for 
the better. 

Thus encouraged, Oliver tapped at the study 
door, and, on Mr. Brownlow calling to him to 
come in, found himself in a little back room 
quite full of books, with a window looking into 
some pleasant little gardens. There was a 
table drawn up before the window, at which 
Mr. Brownlow was seated reading. When he 

VOL. I. L 


saw Oliver, he pushed the book away from him, 
and told him to come near the table and sit 
down. Oliver complied, marvelling where the 
people could be found to read such a great 
number of books as seemed to be written to 
make the world wiser, — which is still a marvel 
to more experienced people than Oliver Twist 
every day of their lives. 

" There are a good many books, are there 
not, my boy ?" said Mr. Brownlow, observing 
the curiosity with which Oliver surveyed the 
shelves that reached from the floor to the ceiling. 
*' A great number, sir," replied Oliver ; "I 
never saw so many.'** 

" You shall read them if you behave well,''' 
said the old gentleman kindly ; " and you will 
like that, better than looking at the outsides, — 
that is, in some cases, because there are books 
of which the backs and covers are by far the 
best parts." 

" I suppose they are those heavy ones, sir," 
said Oliver, pointing to some large quartos with 
a good deal of gilding about the binding. 

" Not always those," said the old gentleman, 


patting Oliver on the head, and smiling as he did 
so; "there are other equally heavy ones, though 
of a much smaller size. How should you like to 
grow up a clever man. and write books, eh ?"*' 

" I think I would rather read them, sir," 
replied Oliver. 

" What ! wouldn't you like to be a book- 
writer ?" said the old gentleman. 

Oliver considered a little while, and at last 
said he should think it would be a much better 
thing to be a bookseller ; upon which the old 
gentleman laughed heartily, and declared he 
had said a very good thing, which Oliver felt 
glad to have done, though he by no means 
knew what it was. 

" Well, well," said the old gentleman, com- 
posing his features, " don't be afraid ; we won't 
make an author of you, while there 's an honest 
trade to be learnt, or brick-making to turn to." 

" Thank you, sir," said Oliver ; and at the 
earnest manner of his reply the old gentleman 
laughed again, and said something about a curi- 
ous instinct, which Oliver, not understanding, 
paid no very great attention to. 

L 2 


'' Now,"*' said Mr. Brownlow, speaking if 
possible in a kinder, but at the same time in a 
much more serious manner than OKver had ever 
heard him speak in yet, " I want you to pay 
great attention, my boy, to what I am going to 
say. I shall talk to you without any reserve, 
because I am sure you are as well able to un- 
derstand me as many older persons would be."" 

" Oh, don't tell me you are going to send me 
away, sir, pray !"" exclaimed Oliver, alarmed by 
the serious tone of the old gentleman'*s com- 
mencement ! " don't turn me out of doors to 
wander in the streets again. Let me stay here 
and be a servant. Don't send me back to the 
wretched place I came from. Have mercy 
upon a poor boy, sir ; do ?" 

" My dear child," said the old gentleman, 
moved by the warmth of Oliver's sudden appeal, 
" you need not be afraid of my deserting you, 
unless you give me cause." 

" I never, never will, sir," interposed Oliver. 

" I hope not," rejoined the old gentleman ; 
" I do not think you ever will. I have been 
deceived before, in the objects whom I have 


endeavoured to benefit ; but I feel strongly 
disposed to trust you, nevertheless, and more 
interested in your behalf than I can well 
account for, even to myself. The persons on 
whom I have bestowed my dearest love lie 
deep in their graves ; but, although the happi- 
ness and delight of my life lie buried there too, I 
have not made a coffin of my heart, and sealed 
it up for ever on my best affections. Deep 
affliction has only made them stronger ; it ought, 
I think, for it should refine our nature." 

As the old gentleman said this in a low voice, 
more to himself than to his companion, and 
remained silent for a short time afterwards, Oli- 
ver sat quite still, almost afraid to breathe. 

" Well, well," said the old gentleman at 
length in a more cheerful tone, " I only say 
this, because you have a young heart, and 
knowing that I have suffered great pain and 
sorrow, you will be more careful, perhaps, not 
to wound me again. You say you are an 
orphan, without a friend in the world ; all 
the inquiries I have been able to make confirm 
the statement. Let me hear your story ; where 


you came from, who brought you up, and how 
you got into the company in which I found you. 
Speak the truth ; and if I find you have com- 
mitted no crime, you will never be friendless 
while 1 live." 

diverts sobs checked his utterance for some 
minutes ; and when he was on the point of 
beginning to relate how he had been brought 
up at the farm, and carried to the workhouse 
by Mr. Bumble, a peculiarly impatient little 
double-knock was heard at the street-door, 
and the servant, running up stairs, announced 
Mr. Grimwig. 

" Is he coming up ?" inquired Mr. Brownlow. 

" Yes, sir," replied the servant. '' He asked 
if there were any muffins in the house, and, 
when 1 told him yes, he said he had come 
to tea." 

Mr. Brownlow smiled, and, turning to Oliver, 
said Mr. Grimwig was an old friend of his, and 
he must not mind his being a little rough in his 
manners, for he was a worthy creature at bot- 
tom, as he had reason to know. 

"Shall I go down stairs, sir?" inquired Oliver. 


" No," replied Mr. Brownlow ; " I would 
rather you stopped here.*" 

At this moment there walked into the room, 
supporting himself by a thick stick, a stout old 
gentleman, rather lame in one leg, who was 
dressed in a blue coat, striped waistcoat, nan- 
keen breeches and gaiters, and a broad-brim- 
med white hat, with the sides turned up with 
green. A very small-plaited shirt-frill stuck out 
from his waistcoat, and a very long steel watch- 
chain, with nothing but a key at the end, dan- 
gled loosely below it. The ends of his white 
neckerchief were twisted into a ball about the 
size of an orange ; — the variety of shapes into 
which his countenance was twisted defy descrip- 
tion. He had a manner of screwing his head 
round on one side when he spoke, and looking 
out of the corners of his eyes at the same time, 
which irresistibly reminded the beholder of a 
parrot. In this attitude he fixed himself the 
moment he made his appearance ; and, holding 
out a small piece of orange-peel at arm's length, 
exclaimed in a growling, discontented voice, 

" Look here ! do you see this ? Isn't it a 


most wonderful and extraordinary thing that I 
can't call at a man's house but I find a 
piece of this poor-surgeon's-friend on the stair- 
case ? I Ve been lamed with orange-peel once, 
and I know orange-peel will be my death at 
last. It will, sir ; orange-peel will be my 
death, or 1 11 be content to eat my own head, 
sir !" This was the handsome offer with which 
Mr. Grim wig backed and confirmed nearly every 
assertion he made : and it was the more singu- 
lar in his case, because, even admitting, for the 
sake of argument, the possibility of scientific 
improvements being ever brought to that pass 
which will enable a gentleman to eat his own 
head in the event of his being so disposed, Mr. 
Grimwig's head was such a particularly large 
one, that the most sanguine man alive could 
hardly entertain a hope of being able to get 
through it at a sitting — to put entirely out of 
the question a very thick coating of powder. 

" I '11 eat my head, sir," repeated Mr. Grim- 
wig, striking his stick upon the ground. "Hallo ! 
what 's that ?" he added, looking at Oliver, and 
retreating a pace or two. 


" This is young Oliver Twist, whom we were 
speaking about," said Mr. Brownlow. 

Oliver bowed. 

" You don't mean to say that 's the boy that 
had the fever, I hope ?" said Mr. Grimwig, 
recoiling a little further. " Wait a minute, 
don't speak : stop — " continued Mr. Grimwig 
abruptly, losing all dread of the fever in his 
triumph at the discovery ; " that 's the boy that 
had the orange ! If that 's not the boy, sir, 
that had the orange, and threw this bit of peel 
upon the staircase, I '11 eat my head and 
his too." 

" No, no, he has not had one," said Mr. 
Brownlow, laughing. " Come, put down your 
hat, and speak to my young friend." 

" I feel strongly on this subject, sir," said the 
irritable old gentleman, drawing off his gloves. 
" There 's always more or less orange-peel on 
the pavement in our street, and I know it 's 
put there by the surgeon's boy at the corner. 
A young woman stumbled over a bit last night, 
and fell against my garden-railings ; directly 
she got up I saw her look towards his infernal 

L 5 


red lamp with the pantomime-Hght. ^ Don^t go 
to him,' I called out of the window, ' he 's an 
assassin, — a man-trap V So he is. If he is 

not **' Here the irascible old gentleman 

gave a great knock on the ground with his 
stick, which was always understood by his 
friends to imply the customary offer whenever 
it was not expressed in words. Then, still 
keeping his stick in his hand, he sat down, and, 
opening a double eye-glass which he wore 
attached to a broad black riband, took a view 
of Oliver, who, seeing that he was the object of 
inspection, coloured, and bowed again. 

" That 's the boy, is it ?" said Mr. Grirawig, 
at length. 

^' That is the boy," replied Mr. Brownlow, 
nodding good-humouredly to Oliver. 

" How are you, boy ?" said Mr. Grimwig. 

" A great deal better, thank you, sir," replied 

Mr. Brownlow, seeming to apprehend that 
his singular friend was about to say something 
disagreeable, asked Oliver to step down stairs 
and tell Mrs. Bedwin they were ready for tea, 


which, as he did not half Uke the visitor's 
manner, he was very happy to do. 

" He is a nice-looking boy, is he not ? " 
inquired Mr. Brownlow. 

" I don't know," replied Grimwig, pettishly. 

" Don't know .?" 

" No, I don't know. I never see any differ- 
ence in boys. I only know two sorts of boys, 
— mealy boys, and beef-faced boys." 

*' And which is Oliver !" 

" Mealy. I know a friend who 's got a beef- 
faced boy; a fine boy they call him, with a 
round head, and red cheeks, and glaring eyes ; 
a horrid boy, with a body and limbs that ap- 
pear to be swelling out of the seams of his 
blue clothes — with the voice of a pilot, and 
the appetite of a wolf. I know him, the 
wretch !" 

" Come," said Mr. Brownlow, " these are not 
the characteristics of young Oliver Twist ; so 
he needn't excite your wrath." 

" They are not," replied Grimwig. " He may 
have worse." 

Here Mr. Brownlow coughed impatient^, 


which appeared to afford Mr. Grimwig the most 
exquisite delight. 

" He may have worse, I say," repeated Mr. 
Grimwig. " Where does he come from ? Who 
is he ? What is he ? He has had a fever — 
what of that ? Fevers are not pecuhar to good 
people, are they ? Bad people have fevers 
sometimes, haven'^t they, eh ? I knew a man 
that was hung in Jamaica for murdering his 
master , he had had a fever six times ; he 
wasn't recommended to mercy on that account. 
Pooh ! nonsense !" 

Now, the fact was, that, in the inmost re- 
cesses of his own heart, Mr. Grimwig was 
strongly disposed to admit that Oliver's appear- 
ance and manner were unusually prepossessing, 
but he had a strong appetite for contradiction, 
sharpened on this occasion by the finding of the 
orange-peel ; and inwardly determining that no 
man should dictate to him whether a boy was 
well- looking or not, he had resolved from the 
first to oppose his friend. When Mr. Brown- 
low admitted that on no one point of inquiry 
could he yet return a satisfactory answer, and 


that he had postponed any investigation into 
Oliver's previous history until he thought the 
boy was strong enough to bear it, Mr. Grimwig 
chuckled maliciously, and demanded, with a 
sneer, whether the housekeeper was in the habit 
of counting the plate at night ; because, if she 
didn't find a table-spoon or two missing some 
sunshiny morning, why, he would be content 
to , et cetera. 

All this, Mr. Brownlow, although himself 
somewhat of an impetuous gentleman, knowing 
his friend's peculiarities, bore with great good 
humour ; as Mr. Grimwig, at tea, was gra- 
ciously pleased to express his entire approval of 
the muffins, matters went on very smoothly ; 
and Oliver, who made one of the party, began 
to feel more at his ease than he had yet done in 
the fierce old gentleman's presence. 

" And when are you going to hear a full, 
true, and particular account of the life and 
adventures of Oliver Twist ?" asked Grimwig 
of Mr. Brownlow, at the conclusion of the meal : 
looking sideways at Oliver as he resumed the 


" To-moiTow morning,"''' replied Mr. Brown- 
low. " I would rather he was alone with nie at 
the time. Come up to me to-morrow morning 
at ten o''clock, my dear." 

'^ Yes, sir,*" replied Oliver. He answered 
with some hesitation, because he was confused 
by Mr. Grimwig's looking so hard at him. 

" 1 '11 tell you what," whispered that gentle- 
man to Mr. Brownlow ; "he won't come up to 
you to-morrow morning. I saw him hesitate. 
He is deceiving you, my dear friend." 

" I '11 swear he is not," replied Mr. Brown- 
low, warmly. 

"If he is not," said Mr. Grimwig, "I'll 
" and down went the stick. 

" I '11 answer for that boy's truth with my 
life," said Mr. Brownlow, knocking the table. 

" And I for his falsehood with my head," 
rejoined Mr. Grimwig, knocking the table also. 

" We shall see," said Mr. Brownlow, check- 
ing his rising passion. 

" We will," replied Mr. Grimwig, with a pro- 
voking smile ; " we will." 

As fate would have it, Mrs. Bedwin chanced 


to brizig in at this moment a small parcel of 
books which Mr. Brownlovv had that morning 
purchased of the identical bookstall-keeper who 
has already figured in this history ; which hav- 
ing laid on the table, she prepared to leave the 

" Stop the boy, Mrs. Bedwin," said Mr. 
Brownlow ; " there is something to go back." 

" He has gone, sir," replied Mrs. Bedwin. 

" Call after him," said Mr. Brownlow ; " it 's 
particular. He is a poor man, and they are 
not paid for. There are some books to be taken 
back, too." 

The street-door was opened. Oliver ran one 
way, and the girl another, and Mrs. Bed- 
win stood on the step and screamed for the 
boy ; but there was no boy in sight, and both 
Oliver and the girl returned in a breathless 
state to report that there were no tidings of 

" Dear me, I am very sorry for that," ex- 
claimed Mr. Brownlow ; " I particularly wished 
those books to be returned to-night." 

" Send Oliver with them," said Mr. Grimwig, 


with an ironical smile ; "he will be sure to 
deliver them safely, you know.'"* 

" Yes ; do let me take them, if you please, 
sir," said Oliver ; " I '11 run all the way, 

The old gentleman was just going to say that 
Oliver should not go out on any account, when 
a most malicious cough from Mr. Grim wig deter- 
mined him that he should, and by his prompt 
discharge of the commission prove to him the 
injustice of his suspicions, on this head at least, 
at once. 

" You shall go, my dear," said the old gen- 
tleman. " The books are on a chair by my 
table. Fetch them down." 

Oliver, delighted to be of use, brought down 
the books under his arm in a great bustle, and 
waited, cap in hand, to hear what message he 
was to take. 

'' You are to say," said Mr. Brownlow, 
glancing steadily at Grimwig, — " you are to 
say that you have brought those books back, 
and that you have come to pay the four pound 
ten I owe him. This is a five-pound note, so 


you will have to bring me back ten shillings 

" I won't be ten minutes, sir," replied Oliver, 
eagerly ; and, having buttoned up the bank-note 
in his jacket pocket, and placed the books care- 
fully under his arm, he made a respectful bow, 
and left the room. Mrs. Bedwin followed him 
to the street-door, giving him many directions 
about the nearest way, and the name of the 
bookseller, and the name of the street, all of 
which Oliver said he clearly understood ; and, 
having superadded many injunctions to be sure 
and not take cold, the careful old lady at length 
permitted him to depart. 

" Bless his sweet face !" said the old lady, 
looking after him. " I can't bear, somehow, to 
let him go out of my sight." 

At this moment, Oliver looked gaily round, 
and nodded before he turned the corner. The 
old lady smilingly returned his salutation, 
and, closing the door, went back to her own 

" Let me see ; he '11 be back in twenty 
minutes, at the longest," said Mr. Brownlow, 


pulling out his watch, and placing it on the 
table. " It will be dark by that time."" 

" Oh ! you really expect him to come back, 
do you ?" inquired Mr. Grimwig. 

'' Don't you ?" asked Mr. Brownlow, smiling. 

The spirit of contradiction was strong in Mr. 
Grimwig's breast at the moment, and it was 
rendered stronger by his friend's confident smile. 

" No," he said, smiting the table with his 
fist, " I do not. The boy has a new suit of 
clothes on his back, a set of valuable books 
under his arm, and a five-pound note in his 
pocket ; he '11 join his old friends the thieves, 
and laugh at you. If ever that boy returns to 
this house, sir, I '11 eat my head." 

With these words he drew his chair closer to 
the table, and there the two friends sat in silent 
expectation, with the watch between them. It 
is worthy of remark, as illustrating the import- 
ance we attach to our own judgments, and the 
pride with which we put forth our most rash 
and hasty conclusions, that, although Mr. Grim- 
wig was not by any means a bad-hearted man, 
and would have been unfeignedly sorry to see 


his respected friend duped and deceived, he 
really did most earnestly and strongly hope at 
that moment that Oliver Twist might not come 
back. Of such contradictions is human nature 
made up ! 

It grew so dark that the figures on the dial 
were scarcely discernible ; but there the two 
old gentlemen continued to sit in silence, with 
the watch between them. 




In the obscure parlour of a low public-house, 
situate in the filthiest part of Little Saifron-Hill, 
— a dark and gloomy den, where a flaring gas- 
light burnt all day in the winter-time, and where 
no ray of sun ever shone in the summer, — there 
sat, brooding over a little pewter measure and a 
small glass, strongly impregnated with the smell 
of liquor, a man in a velveteen coat, drab shorts, 
half-boots, and stockings, whom, even by that 
dim light, no experienced agent of police would 
have hesitated for one instant to recognise as Mr. 
William Sikes. At his feet sat a white-coated, 
red-eyed dog, who occupied himself alternately 
in winking at his master with both eyes at the 
same time, and in licking a large, fresh cut on 


one side of his mouth, which appeared to be the 
result of some recent conflict. 

" Keep quiet, you warmint ! keep quiet !" 
said Mr. Sikes, suddenly breaking silence. 
Whether his meditations were so intense as to 
be disturbed by the dog^s winking, or whether 
his feelings were so wrought upon by his reflec- 
tions that they required all the relief derivable 
from kicking an unoffending animal to allay 
them, is matter for argument and consideration. 
Whatever was the cause, the effect was a kick 
and a curse bestowed upon the dog simultane- 

Dogs are not generally apt to revenge injuries 
inflicted upon them by their masters ; but Mr. 
Sikes's dog, having faults of temper in common 
with his owner, and labouring perhaps, at this 
moment, under a powerful sense of injury, made 
no more ado but at once fixed his teeth in one 
of the half-boots, and, having given it a good 
hearty shake, retired, growling, under a form ; 
thereby just escaping the pewter measure which 
Mr. Sikes levelled at his head. 

" You would, would you?" said Sikes, seiz- 


iiig the poker in one hand, and dehberately 
opening with the other a large clasp-knife, 
which he drew from his pocket. " Come here, 
you born devil ! Come here ! D'ye hear ? " 

The dog no doubt heard, because Mr. Sikes 
spoke in the very harshest key of a very harsh 
voice ; but, appearing to entertain some unac- 
countable objection to having his throat cut, he 
remained where he was, and growled more 
fiercely than before, at the same time grasping 
the end of the poker between his teeth, and 
biting at it like a wild beast. 

This resistance only infuriated Mr. Sikes the 
more ; who, dropping on his knees, began to 
assail the animal most furiously. The dog 
jumped from right to left, and from left to right, 
snapping, growling, and barking ; the man 
thrust and swore, and struck and blasphemed ; 
and the struggle was reaching a most critical 
point for one or other, when, the door suddenly 
opening, the dog darted out, leaving Bill Sikes 
with the poker and the clasp-knife in his hands. 

There must always be two parties to a quar- 
rel, says the old adage. Mr. Sikes, being 


disappointed of the dog's presence, at once 
transferred the quarrel to the new-comer. 

'' What the devil do you come in between 
me and m j dog for ? '' said Sikes with a fierce 

" I didn't know, my dear, I didn't know," 
replied Fagin humbly — for the Jew was the 

" Didn't know, you white-livered thief!" 
growled Sikes. " Couldn't you hear the noise ?" 

" Not a sound of it, as T 'm a living man. 
Bill," replied the Jew. 

" Oh no, you hear nothing, you don't," 
retorted Sikes with a fierce sneer, " sneaking in 
and out, so as nobody hears how you come or 
go. I wish you had been the dog, Fagin, half 
a minute ago." 

" Why?" inquired the Jew with a forced 

" 'Cause the government, as cares for the 
lives of such men as you, as haven't half the 
pluck of curs, lets a man kill his dog how he 
likes," replied Sikes, shutting up the knife with 
a very expressive look ; " that's why." 


The Jew rubbed his hands, and, sitting 
down at the table, affected to langh at the 
pleasantry of his friend, — obviously very ill at 
his ease, however. 

" Grin away," said Sikes, replacing the 
poker, and surveying him with savage con- 
tempt ; " grin away. You 11 never have the 
laugh at me, though, unless it ^s behind a night- 
cap. I Ve got the upper hand over you, 
Fagin ; and, d — me, I '11 keep it. There. 
If I go, you go ; so take care of me. ^ 

" Well, well, my dear," said the Jew, " I 
know all that ; we — we — have a mutual inte- 
rest. Bill, — a mutual interest." 

" Humph," said Sikes, as if he thought the 
interest lay rather more on the Jew's side than on 
his. " Well, what have you got to say to me ?" 

" It's all passed safe through the melting- 
pot," replied Fagin, " and this is your share. 
It's rather more than it ought to be, my 
dear ; but as I know you '11 do me a good turn 
another time, and " 

** 'Stow that gammon," interposed the robber 
impatiently, " Where is it ? Hand over ! " 


" Yes, yes. Bill; give me time, give me 
time,'' replied the Jew soothingly. " Here it 
is — all safe." As he spoke, he drew forth an 
old cotton handkerchief from his breast, and 
untying a large knot in one corner, produced a 
small brown-paper packet, which Sikes snatch- 
ing from him, hastily opened, and proceeded to 
count the sovereigns it contained. 

" This is all, is it ?" inquired Sikes. 

" All," rephed the Jew. 

" You haven't opened the parcel and swal- 
lowed one or two as you come along, have 
you?" inquired Sikes suspiciously. "Don't 
put on a injured look at the question ; you 've 
done it many a time. Jerk the tinkler." 

These words, in plain English, conveyed an 
injunction to ring the bell. It was answered 
by another Jew, younger than Fagin, but near- 
ly as vile and repulsive in appearance. 

Bill Sikes merely pointed to the empty mea- 
sure, and the Jew, perfectly understanding the 
hint, retired to fill it, previously exchanging a 
remarkable look with Fagin, who raised his 
eyes for an instant, as if in expectation of it, 

VOL. I. M 


and shook his head in reply so shghtly that the 
action would have been almost imperceptible to 
a third person. It was lost upon Sikes, who 
was stooping at the moment to tie the boot-lace 
which the dog had torn. Possibly if he had 
observed the brief interchange of signals, he 
might have thought that it boded no good to 

" Is anybody here, Barney?^** inquired Fagin, 
speaking — now that Sikes was looking on — 
without raising his eyes from the ground. 

" Dot a shoul," replied Barney, whose words, 
whether they came from the heart or not, made 
their way through the nose. 

•" Nobody ?" inquired Fagin in a tone of sur- 
prise, which perhaps might mean that Barney 
was at liberty to tell the truth. 

" Dobody but Biss Dadsy," replied Barney. 

" Nancy ! " exclaimed Sikes. " Where ? 
Strike me blind, if I don't honor that ""ere girl 
for her native talents." 

" She 's bid havid a plate of boiled beef id 
the bar," replied Barney. 

" Send her here/' said Sikes, pouring out a 
glass of liquor. " Send her here." 


Barney looked timidly at Fagin, as if for 
permission ; the Jew remaining silent, and not 
lifting his eyes from the ground, he retired, and 
presently returned ushering in Nancy, who 
was decorated with the bonnet, apron, basket, 
and street-door key complete. 

" You are on the scent, are you, Nancy?" 
inquired Sikes, proffering the glass. 

" Yes, I am, Bill," replied the young lady, 
disposing of its contents ; " and tired enough of 
it I ^, too. The young brat 's been ill and 
confined to the crib ; and " 

" Ah, Nancy, dear !" said Fagin, looking up. 

Now, whether a peculiar contraction of the 
Jew"'s red eye-brows, and a half-closing of his 
deeply-set eyes, warned Miss Nancy that she 
was disposed to be too communicative, is not a 
matter of much importance. The fact is all we 
need care for here ; and the fact is, that she 
suddenly checked herself, and with several 
gracious smiles upon Mr. Sikes, turned the con- 
versation to other matters. In about ten mi- 
nutes'* time, Mr. Fagin was seized with a 
fit of coughing, upon which Nancy pulled her 

M 2 


shawl over her shoulders, and declared it was 
time to go. Mr. Sikes, finding that he was 
walking a short part of her way himself, ex- 
pressed his intention of accompanying her, and 
they went away together, followed at a little 
distance by the dog, who slunk out of a back- 
yard as soon as his master was out of sight. 

The Jew thrust his head out of the room 
door when Sikes had left it, looked after him 
as he walked up the dark passage, shook his 
clenched fist, muttered a deep curse, and then 
with a horrible grin re-seated himself at the 
table, where he was soon deeply absorbed in 
the interesting pages of the Hue-and- Cry. 

Meanwhile Oliver Twist, little dreaming that 
he was within so very short a distance of the 
merry old gentleman, was on his way to the 
bookstall. When he got into Clerkenwell he 
accidentally turned down a by-street which was 
not exactly in his way ; but not discovering his 
mistake till he had got halfway down it, and 
knowing it must lead in the right direction, he 
did not think it worth while to turn back, and 


SO marched on as quickly as he could, with the 
books under his arm. 

He was walking along, thinking how happy 
and contented he ought to feel, and how much 
he would give for only one look at poor little 
Dick, who, starved and beaten, might be weep- 
ing bitterly at that very moment, when he was 
startled by a young woman screaming out very 
loud, " Oh, my dear brother!" and he had 
hardly looked up to see what the matter was, 
when he was stopped by having a pair of arms 
thrown tight round his neck. 

"Don^t!"" cried Oliver, struggling. "Let 
go of me. Who is it ? What are you stop- 
ping me for ? " 

The only reply to this, was a great number 
of loud lamentations from the young woman 
who had embraced him, and who had a little 
basket and a street-door key in her hand. 

" Oh my gracious ! " said the young woman, 
" I Ve found him ! Oh, Oliver ! Oliver ! Oh, 
you naughty boy, to make me suffer such dis- 
tress on your account ! Come home, dear, 
come. Oh, IVe found him. Thank gracious 


goodness heavins, I Ve found him ! " With 
these incoherent exclamations the young woman 
burst into another fit of crying, and got so 
dreadfully hysterical, that a couple of women 
who came up at the moment asked a butcher^s 
boy with a shiny head of hair anointed with 
suet, who was also looking* on, whether he 
didn't think he had better run for the doctor. 
To which the butcher's boy, who appeared of a 
lounging, not to say indolent disposition, replied 
that he thought not. 

" Oh, no, no, never mind," said the young wo- 
man, grasping Oliver's hand ; " I 'm better now. 
Come home directly, you cruel boy. Come." 

"What's the matter, ma'am?" inquired 
one of the women. 

'* Oh, ma'am," replied the young woman, 
" he ran away near a month ago from his pa- 
rents, who are hard-working and respectable 
people, and joined a set of thieves and bad cha- 
racters, and almost broke his mother's heart." 

" Young wretch ! " said one woman. 

"Go home, do, you Httle brute," said the 


*' I 'm not," replied Oliver, greatly alarmed. 
" I don't know her. I haven t any sister, or 
father and mother either. I'm an orphan; I 
live at Pentonville." 

" Oh, only hear him, how he braves it out !" 
cried the young woman. 

" Why, it's Nancy!" exclaimed Oliver, who 
now saw her face for the first time, and started 
back in irrepressible astonishment. 

" You see he knows me," cried Nancy, 
appealing to the by-standers. " He can't help 
himself. Make him come home, there 's good 
people, or he '11 kill his dear mother and father, 
and break my heart ! " 

" What the devil 's this ? " said a man, burst- 
ing out of a beer- shop, with a white dog at his 
heels ; " young Oliver ! Come home to your 
poor mother, you young dog ! come home di- 

" I don't belong to them. I don't know 
them. Help ! help ! " cried Ohver, struggling 
in the man's powerful grasp. 

" Help!" repeated the man. '' Yes; I'll 
help you, you young rascal ! What books are 


these ? You Ve been a-stealing *em, have you ? 
Give ""em here ! " With these words the man 
tore the volumes from his grasp, and struck him 
violently on the head. 

" That's right!'' cried a looker-on, from a 
garret- window. " That 's the only way of 
bringing him to his senses ! " 

"To be sure," cried a sleepy- faced carpen- 
ter, casting an approving look at the garret- 

" It'll do him good !" said the two women. 

"And he shall have it, too!" rejoined the 
man, administering another blow, and seizing 
Oliver by the collar. " Come on, you young 
villain ! Here, Bull's-eye, mind him, boy ! 
mind him ! " 

Weak with recent illness, stupified by the 
blows and the suddenness of the attack, terrified 
by the fierce growling of the dog and the bru- 
tality of the man, and overpowered by the con- 
viction of the by-standers that he was really 
the hardened little wretch he was described to 
be, what could one poor child do ! Darkness had 
set in ; it was a low neighbourhood ; no help 

^^2/e4y ,^^^^^^5^^^.^ /^^ ^^^^;^^2^^y^^^;?^ 

LODdon.EicliaTa Bpn-Oev. Sopi:a..l837. 


was near ; resistance was useless. In another 
moment he was dragged into a labyrinth of 
dark narrow courts, and forced along them at 
a pace which rendered the few cries he dared 
to give utterance to, wholly unintelligible. It 
was of little moment, indeed, whether they 
were intelligible or not, for there was nobody 
to care for them had they been ever so plain. 

The gas-lamps were lighted ; Mrs. Bedwin 
was waiting anxiously at the open door ; the 
servant had run up the street twenty times to 
see if there were any traces of Oliver ; and still 
the two old gentlemen sat perse veringly in the 
dark parlour, with the watch between them. 





The narrow streets and courts at length ter- 
minated in a large open space, scattered about 
which, were pens for beasts, and other indica- 
tions of a cattle-market. Sikes slackened his 
pace when they reached this spot, the girl being 
quite unable to support any longer the rapid 
rate at which they had hitherto walked. Turn- 
ing to Oliver, he roughly commanded him to 
take hold of Nancy's hand. 

^' Do you hear?" growled Sikes, as Oliver 
hesitated, and looked round. 

They were in a dark corner, quite out of the 
track of passengers, and Oliver saw but too 
plainly that resistance would be of no avail. 


He held out his hand, which Nancy clasped 
tight in hers. 

" Give me the other," said Sikes, seizing Oli- 
ver's unoccupied hand. " Here, BulFs-eye !'' 

The dog looked up, and growled. 

" See here, hoy ! " said Sikes, putting his 
other hand to Oliver's throat, and uttering a 
savage oath ; " if he speaks ever so soft a word, 
hold him! D'yemind?'' 

The dog growled again, and, licking his lips, 
eyed Oliver as if he were anxious to attach him- 
self to his windpipe without any unnecessary 

'^ He 's as willing as a Christian, strike me 
blind if he isn't ! " said Sikes, regarding the ani- 
mal with a kind of grim and ferocious approval. 

" Now, you know what you Ve got to expect, 
master, so call away as quick as you like ; the 
dog will soon stop that game. Get on, young 

BulFs-eye wagged his tail in acknowledg- 
ment of this unusually endearing form of speech, 
and, giving vent to another admonitory growl 
for the benefit of Oliver, led the way onward. 


It was Smithfielcl that they were crossing, 
although it might have been Grosvenor Square, 
for anything Ohver knew to the contrary. The 
night was dark and foggy. The hghts in the 
shops could scarcely struggle thro.ugh the heavy 
mist, which thickened every moment and shroud- 
ed the streets and houses in gloom, rendering the 
strange place still stranger in Oliver's eyes, 
and making his uncertainty the more dismal and 

They had hurried on a few paces, when a 
deep church-bell struck the hour. With its 
first stroke his two conductors stopped, and 
turned their heads in the direction whence the 
sound proceeded. 

" Eight o'clock. Bill," said Nancy, when the 
bell ceased. 

" What 's the good of telling me that ; I can 
hear it, can "*t I ? " replied Sikes. 

" I wonder whether thei/ can hear it," said 

" Of course they can," replied Sikes. '' It 
was Bartlemy time when I was shopped, and 
there warn't a penny trumpet in the fair as I 


couldn't hear the squeaking on. Arter I was 
locked up for the night, the row and din outside 
made the thundering old jail so silent, that I 
could almost have beat my head out against 
the iron plates of the door."" 

" Poor fellows ! " said Nancy, who still had 
her face turned towards the quarter in which 
the bell had sounded. " Oh, Bill, such fine 
young chaps as them ! '' 

" Yes ; that 's all you women think of," an- 
swered Sikes. " Fine young chaps ! Well, 
they're as good as dead, so it don't much 

With this consolation Mr. Sikes appeared to 
repress a rising tendency to jealousy, and, clasp- 
ing Oliver's wrist more firmly, told him to step 
out again. 

" Wait a minute," said the girl : " I wouldn't 
hurry by, if it was you that was coming out to 
be hung the next time eight o'clock struck, Bill. 
I 'd walk round and round the place till I drop- 
ped, if the snow was on the ground, and I hadn't 
a shawl to cover me." 

" And what good would that do ? " inquired 


the unsentimental Mr. Sikes. " Unless you 
could pitch over a file and twenty yards of 
good stout rope, you might as well be walking 
fifty mile off, or not walking at all, for all the 
good it would do me. Come on, will you, and 
don't stand preaching there." 

The girl burst into a laugh, drew her shawl 
more closely round her, and they walked away. 
But Oliver felt her hand tremble ; and, looking 
up in her face as they passed a gas-lamp, saw 
that it had turned a deadly white. 

They walked on, by little-frequented and 
dirty ways, for a full half-hour, meeting very 
few people, and those they did meet, appearing 
from their looks to hold much the same position 
in society as Mr. Sikes himself. At length they 
turned into a very filthy narrow street, nearly full 
of old-clothes shops ; the dog, running forward 
as if conscious that there was no further occasion 
for his keeping on guard, stopped before the 
door of a shop which was closed and apparently 
untenanted, for the house was in a ruinous con- 
dition, and upon the door was nailed a board 


intimating that it was to let, which looked as if 
it had hung there for many years. 

" All right," said Sikes, glancing cautiously 

Nancy stooped below the shutters, and Oliver 
heard the sound of a bell. They crossed to the 
opposite side of the street, and stood for a few 
moments under a lamp. A noise, as if a sash- 
window were gently raised, was heard, and soon 
afterwards the door softly opened ; upon which 
Mr. Sikes seized the terrified boy by the collar 
with very little ceremony, and all three were 
quickly inside the house. 

The passage was perfectly dark, and they 
waited while the person who had let them in 
chained and barred the door. 

" Anybody here ?" inquired Sikes. 

" No," replied a voice, which Oliver thought 
he had heard before. 

"■ Is the old 'un here ?" asked the robber. 

" Yes," replied the voice ; " and precious 
down in the mouth he has been. Won't he be 
glad to see you ? Oh, no ! " 

The style of this reply, as well as the voice 


which delivered it, seemed familiar to 01iver''s 
ears ; but it was impossible to distinguish even 
the form of the speaker in the darkness. 

" Let 's have a glim,"" said Sikes, " or we 
shall go breaking our necks, or treading on the 
dog. Look after your legs if you do, that's 

" Stand still a moment, and I '11 get you 
one," replied the voice. The receding footsteps 
of the speaker were heard, and in another 
minute the form of Mr. John Dawkins, other- 
wise the artful Dodger, appeared, bearing in his 
right hand a tallow candle stuck in the end of a 
cleft stick. 

The young gentleman did not stop to bestow 
any other mark of recognition upon Oliver than 
a humorous grin ; but, turning away, beckoned 
the visiters to follow him down a flight of stairs. 
They crossed an empty kitchen, and, opening 
the door of a low earthy-smelling room, which 
seemed to have been built in a small back-yard 
were received with a shout of laughter. 

"Oh, my wig, my wig!" cried Master 
Charles Bates, from whose lungs the laughter 


had proceeded ; " here he is ! — oh, cry, here he 
is I Oh, Fagin, look at him ; Fagin, do look at 
him ! I can't bear it ; it is such a jolly game, 
I can't bear it. Hold me, somebody, while I 
laugh it out." 

With this irrepressible ebullition of mirth, 
Master Bates laid himself flat on the floor, and 
kicked convulsively for five minutes in an ecsta- 
sy of facetious joy. Then, jumping to his feet, 
he snatched the cleft stick from the Dodger, 
and, advancing to Oliver, viewed him round 
and round, while the Jew, taking off his night- 
cap, made a great number of low bows to 
the bewildered boy ; the Artful meantime, who 
was of a rather saturnine disposition, and sel- 
dom gave way to merriment when it interfered 
with business, rifling his pockets with steady 

" Look at his togs, Fagin ! " said Charley, 
putting the light so close to Oliver's new jacket 
as nearly to set him on fire. " Look at his 
togs ! — superfine cloth, and the heavy-swell 
cut ! Oh, my eye, what a game ! And his 
books, too ; — nothing but a gentleman, Fagin !" 


" Delighted to see you looking so well, my 
dear,**^ said the Jew, bowing with mock humi- 
lity. " The Artful shall give you another suit, 
my dear, for fear you should spoil that Sunday 
one. Why didn't you write, my dear, and 
say you were coming ? — we 'd have got some- 
thing warm for supper." 

At this. Master Bates roared again : so loud 
that Fagin himself relaxed, and even the Dod- 
ger smiled, but as the Artful drew forth the 
five-pound note at that instant, it is doubtful 
whether the sally or the discovery awakened his 

" Hallo! whafs that?" inquired Sikes, 
stepping forward as the Jew seized the note. 
*' That's mine, Fagin." 

" No, no, my dear," said the Jew. " Mine, 
Bill, mine. You shall have the books." 

" If that ain't mine !" said Sikes, putting on 
his hat with a determined air, — " mine and 
Nancy'^s, that is, — I '11 take the boy back 

The Jew started, and Oliver started too, 
though from a very different cause, for he hoped 


that the dispute might really end in his being 
taken back. 

" Come, hand over, will you?"" said Sikes. 

" This is hardly fair, Bill ; hardly fair, is it, 
Nancy?" inquired the Jew. 

" Fair, or not fair," retorted Sikes, " hand it 
over, I tell you ! Do you think Nancy and 
me has got nothing else to do with our precious 
time but to spend it in scouting arter and 
kidnapping every young boy as gets grabbed 
through you ? Give it here, you avaricious old 
skeleton ; give it here ! " 

With this gentle remonstrance, Mr. Sikes 
plucked the note from between the Jew**s finger 
and thumb ; and, looking the old man coolly in 
the face, folded it up small, and tied it in his 

" That 's for our share of the trouble," said 
Sikes ; " and not half enough, neither. You 
may keep the books, if you Ve fond of reading, 
and if not, you can sell 'em." 

" They 're very pretty," said Charley Bates, 
who with sundry grimaces had been affecting to 
read one of the volumes in question ; " beautiful 


writing, isn't it, Oliver ? " and at sight of the 
dismayed look with which Oliver regarded his 
tormentors, Master Bates, who was blessed with 
a lively sense of the ludicrous, fell into another 
ecstasy more boisterous than the first. 

" They belong to the old gentleman," said 
Oliver, wringing his hands, — "to the good 
kind old gentleman who took me into his house, 
and had me nursed when I was near dying of 
the fever. Oh, pray send them back ; send 
him back the books and money. Keep me 
here all my life long ; but pray, pray send them 
back. He'll think I stole them; — the old 
lady, all of them that were so kind to me, will 
think I stole them. Oh, do have mercy upon 
me, and send them back ! " 

With these words, which were uttered with 
all the energy of passionate grief, Oliver fell 
upon his knees at the Jew's feet, and beat his 
hands together in perfect desperation. 

" The boy's right," remarked Fagin, looking 
covertly round, and knitting his shaggy eye- 
brows into a hard knot. " You're right, Oli- 
ver, you 're right ; they will think you have 


stolen 'em. Ha ! ha !'' chuckled the Jew, rub- 
bing his hands ; "it couldn't have happened 
better if we had chosen our time ! " 

" Of course it couldn't," replied Sikes; " I 
know'd that, directly I see him coming through 
Clerkenwell with the books under his arm. It 's 
all right enough. They're soft-hearted psalm- 
singers, or they wouldn't have taken him in at 
all, and they '11 ask no questions arter him, fear 
they should be obliged to prosecute, and so get 
him lagged. He 's safe enough." 

Oliver had looked from one to the other 
while these words were being spoken, as if he 
were bewildered, and could scarcely understand 
what passed; but when Bill Sikes concluded, 
he jumped suddenly to his feet, and tore wildly 
from the room, uttering shrieks for help which 
made the bare old house echo to the roof. 

" Keep back the dog, Bill ! " cried Nancy, 
springing before the door, and closing it as the 
Jew and his two pupils darted out in pursuit ; 
" keep back the dog ; he '11 tear the boy to 

" Serve him right!" cried Sikes, struggling 


to disengage himself from the girl's grasp. 
" Stand off from me, or 111 split your skull 
against the wall." 

" I don't care for that, Bill ; I don't care for 
that," screamed the girl, struggling violently 
with the man : " the child shan't be torn down 
by the dog, unless you kill me first." 

"Shan't he!" said Sikes, setting his teeth 
fiercely. " I'll soon do that, if you don't 
keep off." 

The housebreaker flung the girl from him to 
the further end of the room, just as the Jew 
and the two boys returned, dragging Oliver 
among them. 

" What's the matter here ?" said the Jew, 
looking round. 

" The girl 's gone mad, I think," replied 
Sikes savagely. 

" No, she hasn't," said Nancy, pale and 
breathless from the scuffle ; " no, she hasn't, 
Fagin : don't think it." 

" Then keep quiet, will you?" said the Jew 
with a threatening look. 

" No, I won't do that neither," replied Nancy, 


speaking very loud. " Come, what do you 
think of that?" 

Mr. Fagin was sufficiently well acquainte;d 
with the manners and customs of that particu- 
lar species of humanity to which Nancy be- 
longed, to feel tolerably certain that it would be 
rather unsafe to prolong any conversation with 
her at present. With the view of diverting the 
attention of the company, he turned to Oliver. 

" So you wanted to get away, my dear, did 
you?" said the Jew, taking up a jagged and 
knotted club which lay in a corner of the fire- 
place ; " eh?" 

Oliver made no reply, but he watched the 
Jew''s motions and breathed quickly. 

" Wanted to get assistance, — called for the 
police, did you?" sneered the Jew, catching the 
boy by the arm. " We "11 cure you of that, 
my young master." 

The Jew inflicted a smart blow on Oliver's 
shoulders with the club, and was raising it for a 
second, when the girl, rushing forward, wrested 
it from his hand, and flung it into the fire with 
a force that brought some of the glowing coals 
whirling out into the room. 


" I won't stand by and see it done, Fagin," 
cried the girl. " You Ve got the boy, and 
what more would you have ? Let him be — let 
him be, or I shall put that mark on some of 
you, that will bring me to the gallows before 
my time." 

The girl stamped her foot violently on the 
floor as she vented this threat ; and with her 
lips compressed, and her hands clenched, looked 
alternately at the Jew and the other robber — 
her face quite colourless from the passion of 
rage into which she had gradually worked 

" Why, Nancy ! "" said the Jew in a soothing 
tone, after a pause, during which he and Mr. 
Sikes had stared at one another in a disconcert- 
ed manner, "you — youVe more clever than 
ever to-night. Ha ! ha ! my dear, you are act- 
ing beautifully." 

" Am I ?" said the girl. " Take care I donH 
overdo it : you will be the worse for it, Fagin, 
if I do ; and so I tell you in good time to keep 
clear of me." 

There is something about a roused woman, 


especially if she add to all her other strong 
passions the fierce impulses of recklessness and 
despair, which few men like to provoke. The 
Jew saw that it would be hopeless to affect any 
further mistake regarding the reality of Miss 
Nancy's rage ; and, shrinking involuntarily 
back a few paces, cast a glance, half-imploring 
and half-cowardly, at Sikes, as if to hint that 
he was the fittest person to pursue the dialogue. 

Mr. Sikes thus mutely appealed to, and pos- 
sibly feeling his personal pride and influence 
interested in the immediate reduction of Miss 
Nancy to reason, gave utterance to about a 
couple of score of curses and threats, the rapid 
production of which reflected great credit on the 
fertility of his invention. As they produced 
no visible effect on the object against whom 
they were discharged, however, he resorted to 
more tangible arguments. 

" What do you mean by this?'"* said Sikes, 
backing the inquiry with a very common impre- 
cation concerning the most beautiful of human 
features, which, if it were heard above, only 
once out of every fifty thousand times it is 

VOL. I. N 


littered below, would render blindness as com- 
mon a disorder as measles ; " what do you 
mean by it ? Burn my body l—do you know 
who you are, and what you are ?" 

" Oh, yes, I know all about it," replied the 
girl, laughing hysterically, and shaking her head 
from side to side with a poor assumption of 

" Well, then, keep quiet," rejoined Sikes 
with a growl like that he was accustomed to 
use when addressing his dog, " or VW quiet you 
for a good long time to come." 

The girl laughed again, even less composedly 
than before, and, darting a hasty look at Sikes, 
turned her face aside, and bit her lip till the 
blood came. 

" You're a nice one," added Sikes, as he 
surveyed her with a contemptuous air, " to 
take up the humane and genteel side! A 
pretty subject for the child, as you call him, to 
make a friend of ! " 

" God Almighty help me, I am!" cried the 
girl passionately ; " and I wish I had been 
struck dead in the street, or changed places 


witli them we passed so near to-night, before I 
had lent a hand in bringing him here. He 's a 
thief, a Uar, a devil, all that 's bad from this 
night forth. Isn't that enough for the old 
wretch without blows ? *" 

" Come, come, Sikes," said the Jew, appeal- 
ing to him in a remonstratory tone, and motion- 
ing towards the boys, who were eagerly atten- 
tive to all that passed ; " we must have civil 
words. — civil words, Bill." 

" Civil words !" cried the girl, whose passion 
was frightful to see. *' Civil words, you villain ! 
Yes ; you deserve 'em from me. I thieved for 
you when I was a child not half as old as this 
(pointing to Oliver). I have been in the same 
trade, and in the same service, for twelve years 
since. Don't you know it ? Speak out ! — don't 
you know it ? " 

" Well, well," replied the Jew, with an 
attempt at pacification ; " and, if you have, it 's 
your living ! " 

" Aye, it is !" returned the girl: not speaking, 
but pouring out the words in one continuous 
and vehement scream. "It is my living, and 


the cold, wet, dirty streets are my home ; and 
you 're the wretch that drove me to them long 
ago, and that '11 keep me there day and night, 
day and night, till I die ! '' 

" I shall do you a mischief!" interposed the 
Jew, goaded by these reproaches ; "a mischief 
worse than that, if you say much more ! '' 

The girl said nothing more ; but, tearing her 
hair and dress in a transport of phrensy, made 
such a rush at the Jew as would probably have 
left signal marks of her revenge upon him, had 
not her wrists been seized by Sikes at the right 
moment; upon which she made a few ineffec- 
tual struggles, and fainted. 

'' She's all right now," said Sikes, laying her 
down in a corner. '* She's uncommon strong 
in the arms when she 's up in this way." 

The Jew wiped his forehead, and smiled, as 
if it were a relief to have the disturbance over ; 
but neither he, nor Sikes, nor the dog, nor the 
boys, seemed to consider it in any other light 
than a common occurrence incidental to busi- 

" It 's the worst of having to do with wo- 


men," said the Jew, replacing the club ; " but 
they 're clever, and we can't get on in our line 
without 'em. — Charley, show Oliver to bed." 

" I suppose he 'd better not wear his best 
clothes to-morrow, Fagin, had he ? " inquired 
Charley Bates. 

" Certainly not," replied the Jew, reciprocat- 
ing the grin with which Charley put the ques- 

Master Bates, apparently much delighted 
with his commission, took the cleft stick, and 
led OHver into an adjacent kitchen, where there 
were two or three of the beds on which he had 
slept before ; and here, with many uncontrolla- 
ble bursts of laughter, he produced the identical 
old suit of clothes which Oliver had so much 
congratulated himself upon leaving off at Mr. 
Brownlow's, and the accidental display of which 
to Fagin by the Jew who purchased them, 
had been the very first clue received of his 

" Pull off the smart ones," said Charley, 
" and I'll give 'em to Fagin to take care of. 
What fun it is!" 


Poor Oliver unwillingly complied ; and Mas- 
ter Bates, rolling up the new clothes under his 
arm, departed from the room, leaving Oliver in 
the dark, and locking the door behind him. 

The noise of Charley's laughter, and the voice 
of Miss Betsy, who opportunely arrived to 
throw water over her friend, and perform other 
feminine offices for the promotion of her reco- 
very, might have kept many people awake 
under more happy circumstances than those in 
which Oliver was placed ; but he was sick and 
weary, and soon fell sound asleep. 



Oliver's destiny continuing unpropitious, brings a 
great man to london to injure his reputation. 

It is the custom on the stage in all good, 
murderous melodramas, to present the tragic 
and the comic scenes in as regular alternation 
as the layers of red and white in a side of 
streaky, well-cured bacon. The hero sinks 
upon his straw bed, weighed down by fetters 
and misfortunes ; and, in the next scene, his 
faithful but unconscious squire regales the au- 
dience with a comic song. We behold with 
throbbing bosoms the heroine in the grasp of a 
proud and ruthless baron, her virtue and her 
life alike in danger, drawing forth her dagger 
to preserve the one at the cost of the other ; 
and, just as our expectations are wrought up 
to the highest pitch, a whistle is heard, and we 


are straightway transported to the great hall of 
the castle, where a grey-headed seneschal sings 
a funny chorus with a funnier body of vassals, 
who are free of all sorts of places from church 
vaults to palaces, and roam about in company 
carolling perpetually. 

Such changes appear absurd; but they are 
not so unnatural as they would seem at first 
sight. The transitions in real life from well- 
spread boards to death-beds, and from mourn- 
ing weeds to holiday garments, are not a whit 
less startling, only there we are busy actors 
instead of passive lookers-on, which makes a 
vast difference. The actors in the mimic life 
of the theatre are blind to violent transitions 
and abrupt impulses of passion or feeling, which, 
])resented before the eyes of mere spectators, 
are at once condemned as outrageous and pre- 

As sudden shiftings of the scene, and rapid 
changes of time and place, are not only sanc- 
tioned in books by long usage, but are by many 
considered as the great art of authorship, — an 
author's skill in his craft being by such critics 


chiefly estimated with relation to the dilemmas 
in which he leaves his characters at the end of 
every chapter, — this brief introduction to the 
present one may perhaps be deemed unneces- 
sary. If so, let it be considered a delicat'e 
intimation on the part of the historian that he 
is going back directly to the town in which 
Oliver Twist was born ; the reader taking it 
for granted that there are good and substantial 
reasons for making the journey, or he would not 
be invited to proceed upon such an expedition 
on any account. 

Mr. Bumble emerged at early morning from 
the workhouse gate, and walked, with portly 
carriage and commanding steps, up the High- 
street. He was in the full bloom and pride 
of beadleism; his cocked hat and coat were 
dazzling in the morning sun, and he clutched 
his cane with the vigorous tenacity of health 
and power. Mr. Bumble always carried his 
head high, but this morning it was higher than 
usual ; there was an abstraction in his eye, and 
an elevation in his air, which might have warn- 
ed an observant stranger that thoughts were 



passing in the beadle's mind, too great for utter- 

Mr. Bumble stopped not to converse with the 
small shop-keepers and others who spoke to 
him deferentially as he passed along. He mere- 
ly returned their salutations with a wave of his 
hand, and relaxed not in his dignified pace until 
he reached the farm where Mrs. Mann tended 
the infant paupers with a parish care. 

" Drat that beadle ! " said Mrs. Mann, hear- 
ing the well-known impatient shaking at the 
garden gate. " If it isn't him at this time in 
the morning ! — Lauk, Mr. Bumble, only think 
of its being you ! Well, dear me, it is a plea- 
sure this is ! Come into the parlour, sir, 

The first sentence was addressed to Susan, 
and the exclamations of delight were spoken to 
Mr. Bumble as the good lady unlocked the gar- 
den gate, and showed him with great attention 
and respect into the house. 

" Mrs. Mann," said Mr. Bumble, — not sitting 
upon, or dropping himself into a seat, as any 
common jackanapes would, but letting himself 


gradually and slowly down into a chair, — 
" Mrs. Mann, ma'am, good morning ! " 

'' Well, and good morning to you, sir," re- 
plied Mrs. Mann, with many smiles ; '' and 
hoping you find yourself well, sir ? " 

'' So-so, Mrs. Mann,'' replied the beadle. 
'*' A porochial life is not a bed of roses, Mrs. 

" Ah, that it isn't indeed, Mr. Bumble," 
rejoined the lady. And all the infant paupers 
might have chorused the rejoinder with great 
propriety if they had heard it. 

" A porochial life, ma'am," continued Mr. 
Bumble, striking the table with his cane, " is 
a life of worry, and vexation, and hardihood ; 
but all public characters, as I may say, must 
suffer prosecution." 

Mrs. Mann, not very well knowing what the 
beadle meant, raised her hands with a look of 
sympathy, and sighed. 

"Ah! You may well sigh, Mrs. Mann!" 
said the beadle. 

Finding she had done right, Mrs. Mann 
sighed again, evidently to the satisfaction of 


the public character, who, repressing a compla- 
cent smile by looking sternly at his cocked hat, 

" Mrs. Mann, I am a-going to London." 

''Lank, Mr. Bumble!" said Mrs. Mann, 
starting back. 

" To London, ma'am," resumed the inflexible 
beadle, " by coach ; I and two paupers, Mrs. 
Mann. A legal action is coming on about a 
settlement, and the board has appointed me — 
me, Mrs. Mann — to depose to the matter before 
the quarter-sessions at Clerkinwell ; and I very 
much question," added Mr. Bumble, drawing 
himself up, " whether the Clerkinwell Sessions 
Avill not find themselves in the wrong box before 
they have done with me." 

" Oh ! you mustn't be too hard upon them, 
sir," said Mrs. Mann coaxingly. 

" The Clerkinwell Sessions have brouofht it 
upon themselves, ma''am," replied Mr. Bumble ; 
" and if the Clerkinwell Sessions find that they 
come off rather worse than they expected, the 
Clerkinwell Sessions have only themselves to 


There was so much determination and depth 
of purpose about the menacing manner in which 
Mr. Bumble deUvered himself of these words, 
that Mrs. Mann appeared quite awed by them. 
At length she said, 

" You're going by coach, sir? I thought it 
was always usual to send them paupers in 

"That's when they're ill, Mrs. Mann,'' 
said the beadle. " We put the sick paupers 
into open carts in the rainy weather, to prevent 
their taking cold." 

" Oh! "said Mrs. Mann. 

" The opposition coach contracts for these 
two, and takes them cheap," said Mr. Bumble. 
" They are both in a very low state, and we 
find it would come two pound cheaper to move 
'em than to bury 'em, — that is, if we can throw 
'em upon another parish, which I think we 
shall be able to do, if they don't die upon the 
road to spite us. Ha ! ha ! ha ! " 

When Mr. Bumble had laughed a little 
Avhile, his eyes again encountered the cocked 
hat, and he became grave. 


" We are forgetting business, ma^am,"*"' said 
the beadle; — " here is your porochial stipend 
for the month." 

Wherewith Mr. Bumble produced some 
silver money, rolled up in paper, from his 
pocket-book, and requested a receipt, which 
Mrs. Mann wrote. 

" It's very much blotted, sir," said the 
farmer of infants ; "but it's formal enough, I 
dare say. Thank you, Mr. Bumble, sir ; I am 
very much obliged to you, I 'm sure." 

Mr. Bumble nodded blandly in acknowledg- 
ment of Mrs. Mann's curtsey, and inquired how 
the children were. 

" Bless their dear little hearts!" said Mrs. 
Mann with emotion, '' they 're as well as can 
be, the dears ! Of course, except the two that 
died last week, and little Dick." 

" Isn't that boy no better.^" inquired Mr. 
Bumble. ^Irs. Mann shook her head. 

" He 's a ill-conditioned, vicious, bad-disposed 
porochial child that," said Mr. Bumble angrily. 
" Where is he?" 

" I '11 bring him to you in one minute, sir," 
replied Mrs. Mann. " Here, you Dick !" 


After some calling, Dick was discovered ; and 
having had his face put under the pump, and 
dried upon Mrs. Mann's gown, he was led into 
the awful presence of Mr. Bumble, the beadle. 

The child was pale and thin ; his cheeks 
were sunken, and his eyes large and bright. 
The scanty parish dress, the livery of his mi- 
sery, hung loosely upon his feeble body ; and 
his young limbs had wasted away like those of 
an old man. 

Such was the little being who stood trembling 
beneath Mr. Bumble's glance, not daring to lift 
his eyes from the floor, and dreading even to 
hear the beadle's voice. 

" Can't you look at the gentleman, you obsti- 
nate boy?" said Mrs. Mann. 

The child meekly raised his eyes, and en- 
countered those of Mr. Bumble. 

" What 's the matter with you, porochial 
Dick?" inquired Mr. Bumble with well-timed 

'' Nothing, sir," replied the child faintly. 

" I should think not," said Mrs. Mann, who 
had of course laughed very much at Mr. Bum- 


ble's exquisite humour. " You want for no- 
thing, I 'm sure." 

" I should like—" faltered the child. 
"Hey-day!" interposed Mrs. Mann, "I 
suppose you 're going to say that you do want 
for something, now ? Why, you little wretch 

" Stop, Mrs. Mann, stop!" said the beadle, 
raising his hand with a show of authority. 
" Like what, sir; eh?" 

" I should like," faltered the child, " if some- 
body that can write, would put a few words 
down for me on a piece of paper, and fold it up, 
and seal it, and keep it for me after I am laid 
in the ground." 

" Why, what does the boy mean ?" exclaim- 
ed Mr. Bumble, on whom the earnest manner 
and wan aspect of the child had made some 
impression, accustomed as he was to such things. 
" What do you mean, sir?" 

" I should like," said the child, " to leave my 
dear love to poor Oliver Twist, and to let him 
know how often I have sat by myself and cried 
to think of his wandering about in the dark 


nights with nobody to help him ; and I should 
like to tell him," said the child, pressing his 
small hands together, and speaking with great 
fervour, " that I was glad to die when I was very 
young ; for, perhaps, if I lived to be a man, and 
grew old, my little sister, who is in heaven, 
might forget me, or be unlike me ; and it would 
be so much happier if we were both children 
there together." 

Mr. Bumble surveyed the little speaker from 
head to foot with indescribable astonishment-) 
and, turning to his companion, said, " They 're 
all in one story, Mrs. Mann. That out-dacious 
Oliver has demoralized them all ! " 

" I couldn"*t have believed it, sir !" said Mrs. 
Mann, holding up her hands, and looking ma- 
lignantly at Dick. " I never see such a hard- 
ened little wretch ! " 

" Take him away, ma'am ! " said Mr. Bum- 
ble imperiously. " This must be stated to the 
board, Mrs. Mann." 

" I hope the gentlemen will understand that 
it isn't my fault, sir.^*" said Mrs. Mann, whim- 
pering pathetically. 


" They shall understand that, ma'*am ; they 
shall be acquainted with the true state of the 
case," said Mr. Bumble pompously. '* There ; 
take him away. I can't bear the sight of 

Dick was immediately taken away, and lock- 
ed up in the coal-cellar ; and Mr. Bumble shortly 
afterwards took himself off to prepare for his 

At six o'clock next morning, Mr. Bumble 
having exchanged his cocked hat for a round 
one, and encased his person in a blue great-coat 
with a cape to it, took his place on the outside 
of the coach, accompanied by the criminals 
whose settlement was disputed, with whom, 
in due course of time, he arrived in London, 
having experienced no other crosses by the way 
than those which originated in the perverse 
behaviour of the two paupers, who persisted in 
shivering, and complaining of the cold in a 
manner which, Mr. Bumble declared, caused 
his teeth to chatter in his head, and made him 
feel quite uncomfortable, although he had a 
great- coat on. 


Having disposed of these evil-minded persons 
for the night, Mr. Bumble sat himself down in 
the house at which the coach stopped, and 
took a temperate dinner of steaks, oyster-sauce, 
and porter. Putting a glass of hot gin-and- water 
on the mantel-piece, he drew his chair to the 
fire, and, with sundry moral reflections on the 
too-prevalent sin of discontent and complaining, 
he then composed himself comfortably to read 
the paper. 

The very first paragraph upon which Mr. 
Bumble's eyes rested, was the following adver- 


" Whereas a young boy, named Oliver 
Twist, absconded, or was enticed, on Thursday 
evening last, from his home at Pentonville, and 
has not since been heard of; the above reward 
will be paid to any person who will give such 
information as may lead to the discovery of the 
said Oliver Twist, or tend to throw any light 
upon his previous history, in which the adver- 
tiser is for many reasons warmly interested." 
And then followed a full description of Oli- 


ver's dress, person, appearance, and disappear- 
ance, with the name and address of Mr. Brown- 
low at full length. 

Mr. Bumble opened his eyes, read the ad- 
vertisement slowly and carefully three several 
times, and in something more than five minutes 
was on his way to Pentonville, having actually 
in his excitement left the glass of hot gin- and - 
water untasted on the mantel-piece. 

" Is Mr. Brownlow at home?" inquired Mr. 
Bumble of the girl who opened the door. 

To this inquiry the girl returned the not 
uncommon, but rather evasive reply of, "I 
don''t know — where do you come from ?" 

Mr. Bumble no sooner uttered Oliver's name 
in explanation of his errand, than Mrs. Bed- 
win, who had been listening at the parlour- 
door, hastened into the passage in a breathless 

" Come in — come in,"" said the old lady : "I 
knew we should hear of him. Poor dear ! I 
knew we should, — I was certain of it. Bless 
his heart ! I said so all along." 

Having said this, the worthy old lady hurried 


back into the parlour again, and, seating her- 
self on a sofa, burst into tears. The girl, who 
was not quite so susceptible, had run up-stairs 
meanwhile, and now returned with a request 
that Mr. Bumble would follow her immediately, 
which he did. 

He was shown into the little back study, 
where sat Mr. Brownlow and his friend Mr. 
Grimwig, with decanters and glasses before 
them. The latter gentleman eyed him closely, 
and at once burst into the exclamation, 

" A beadle — a parish beadle, or 1 11 eat my 

'' Pray don\ interrupt just now," said Mr. 
Brownlow. " Take a seat, will you ?''^ 

Mr. Bumble sat himself down, quite con- 
founded by the oddity of Mr. Grimwig's man- 
ner. Mr. Brownlow moved the lamp so as to 
obtain an uninterrupted view of the beadle's 
countenance, and said with a little impatience, 

" Now, sir, you come in consequence of 
having seen the advertisement ?" 

" Yes, sir," said Mr. Bumble. 


"And you are a beadle, are you not?" in- 
quired Mr. Grimwig. 

" I am a porochial beadle, gentlemen," re- 
joined Mr. Bumble proudly. 

" Of course," observed Mr. Grimwig aside 
to his friend. " I knew he was. His great- 
coat is a parochial cut, and he looks a beadle all 

Mr. Brownlow gently shook his head to im- 
pose silence on his friend, and resumed : 

" Do you know where this poor boy is 
now ? " 

" No more than nobody," replied Mr. Bumble. 

" Well, what do you know of him ?" inquired 
the old gentleman. " Speak out, my friend, 
if you have anything to say. What do you 
know of him ? " 

'' You don't happen to know any good of 
him, do you ? " said Mr. Grimwig caustically, 
after an attentive perusal of Mr. Bumble's 

Mr. Bumble caught at the inquiry very 
quickly, and shook his head with portentous 


" You see this?" said Mr. Grim wig, looking 
triumphantly at Mr. Brownlow. 

Mr. Brownlow looked apprehensively at 
Bumble's pursed-up countenance, and request- 
ed him to communicate what he knew re- 
garding Oliver, in as few words as possible. 

Mr. Bumble put down his hat, unbuttoned 
his coat, folded his arms, inclined his head in a 
retrospective manner, and, after a few moments'* 
reflection, commenced his story. 

It would be tedious if given in the beadle's 
words, occupying as it did some twenty minutes 
in the telling ; but the sum and substance of it 
was, that Oliver was a foundling, born of low 
and vicious parents, who had from his birth 
displayed no better qualities than treachery, 
ingratitude, and malice, and who had termi- 
nated his brief career in the place of his birth, 
by making a sanguinary and cowardly attack 
on an unoffending lad, and running away 
in the night-time from his master's house. In 
proof of his really being the person he repre- 
sented himself, Mr. Bumble laid upon the table 
the papers he had brought to town, and, folding 


his arms again, awaited Mr. Bro willow's obser- 

" I fear it is all too true," said the old gentle- 
man sorrowfully, after looking over the papers. 
*' This is not much for your intelligence ; but I 
would gladly have given you treble the money, 
if it had been favourable to the boy." 

It is not at all improbable that if Mr. Bum- 
ble had been possessed with this information at 
an earlier period of the interview, he might 
have imparted a very different colouring to his 
little history. It was too late to do it now, 
however; so he shook his head gravely, and, 
pocketing the five guineas, withdrew. 

Mr. Brownlow paced the room to and fro for 
some minutes, evidently so much disturbed by 
the beadle's tale, that even Mr. Grimwig for- 
bore to vex him further. At length he stopped, 
and rang the bell violently. 

" Mrs. Bedwin," said Mr. Brownlow when 
the housekeeper appeared, " that boy, Oliver, 
is an impostor." 

" It can't be, sir ; it cannot be," said the old 
lady energetically. 


" I tell you he is," retorted the old gentle- 
man sharply. " What do you mean by ' can't 
be\^ We have just heard a full account of 
him from his birth, and he has been a thorough- 
paced little villain all his life." 

*' I never will believe it, sir," replied the old 
lady, firmly. 

" You old vromen never believe anything but 
quack-doctors and lying story-books," growled 
Mr. Grim wig, " I knew it all along. Why 
didn't you take my advice in the beginning ; 
you would if he hadn't had a fever, I suppose, 
— eh ? He was interesting, wasn't he ? Inte- 
resting ! Bah !" and Mr. Grim wig poked the 
fire with a flourish. 

" He was a dear, grateful, gentle child, sir," 
retorted Mrs. Bed win indignantly. " I know 
what children are, sir, and have done these forty 
years ; and people who can't say the same 
shouldn't say anything about them — that 's my 

This was a hard hit at Mr. Grimwig, who 
was a bachelor; but as it extorted nothing 
from that gentleman but a smile, the old lady 

VOL. I. o 


tossed her head and smoothed down her apron 
preparatory to another speech, when she was 
stopped by Mr. Brownlow. 

" Silence!" said the old gentleman, feigning 
an anger he was far from feeling. " Never let 
me hear the boy's name again : I rang to tell 
you that. Never — never, on any pretence, 
mind. You may leave the room, Mrs. Bed- 
win. Remember ; I am in earnest." 

There were sad hearts at Mr. Brownlow's 
that night. Oliver's sunk within him when he 
thought of his good kind friends ; but it was 
well for him that he could not know what they 
had heard, or it would have broken outright. 





About noon next day, when the Dodger and 
Master Bates had gone out to pursue their cus- 
tomary avocations, Mr. Fagin took the oppor- 
tunity of reading OHver a long lecture on the 
crying sin of ingratitude, of which he clearly 
demonstrated he had been guilty to no ordinary 
extent in wilfully absenting himself from the 
society of his anxious friends, and still more 
in endeavouring to escape from them after so 
much trouble and expense had been incurred in 
his recovery. Mr. Fagin laid great stress on 
the fact of his having taken Oliver in and che- 
rished him, when without his timely aid he 



might have perished with hunger ; and related 
the dismal and aiFecting history of a young lad 
whom in his philanthropy he had succoured 
under parallel circumstances, but who, proving 
unworthy of his confidence, and evincing a desire 
to communicate with the police, had unfortu- 
nately come to be hung at the Old Bailey one 
morning. Mr. Fagin did not seek to conceal 
his share in the catastrophe, but lamented with 
tears in his eyes that the wrong-headed and 
treacherous behaviour of the young person in 
question had rendered it necessary that he 
should become the victim of certain evidence 
for the crown, which, if it were not precisely 
true, was indispensably necessary for the safety 
of him (Mr. Fagin), and a few select friends. 
Mr. Fagin concluded by drawing a rather dis- 
agreeable picture of the discomforts of hanging, 
and, with great friendliness and politeness of 
manner, expressed his anxious hope that he 
might never be obliged to submit Oliver Twist 
to that unpleasant operation. 

Little Oliver's blood ran cold as he listened 
to the Jew's words, and imperfectly compre- 


hended the dark threats conveyed in them. 
That it was possible even for justice itself to 
confound the innocent with the guilty when 
they were in accidental companionship, he knew 
already ; and that deeply-laid plans for the 
destruction of inconveniently-knowing, or over- 
communicative persons, had been really devised 
and carried out by the old Jew on more occa- 
sions than one, he thought by no means unlikely 
when he recollected the general nature of the 
altercations between that gentleman and Mr. 
Sikes, which seemed to bear reference to some 
foregone conspiracy of the kind. As he glanced 
timidly up, and met the Jew's searching look, 
he felt that his pale face and trembling limbs 
were neither unnoticed, nor unrelished, by the 
wary villain. 

The Jew smiled hideously, and, patting Oli- 
ver on the head, said that if he kept himself 
quiet, and applied himself to business, he saw 
they would be very good friends yet. Then 
taking his hat, and covering himself up in an 
old patched great-coat, he went out and locked 
the room-door behind him. 


And so Oliver remained all that day, and for 
the greater part of many subsequent days, see- 
ing nobody between early morning and mid- 
night, and left during the long hours to com- 
mune with his own thoughts ; which never 
failing to revert to his kind friends, and the 
opinion they must long ago have formed of 
him, were sad indeed. After the lapse of a 
week or so, the Jew left the room-door un- 
locked, and he was at liberty to wander about 
the house. 

It was a very dirty place ; but the rooms up 
stairs had great high wooden mantel-pieces and 
large doors, with paneled walls and cornices to 
the ceilings, which, although they were black 
with neglect and dust, were ornamented in 
various ways ; from all of which tokens Oliver 
concluded that a long time ago, before the old 
Jew was born, it had belonged to better people, 
and had perhaps been quite gay and handsome, 
dismal and dreary as it looked now. 

Spiders had built their webs in the angles of 
the walls and ceilings; and sometimes, when 


Oliver walked softly into a room, the mice 
would scamper across the floor, and run back 
terrified to their holes. With these exceptions, 
there was neither sight nor sound of any living 
thing; and often, when it grew dark, and he 
was tired of wandering from room to room, he 
would crouch in the corner of the passage by 
the street-door, to be as near living people as 
he could, and remain there listening and count- 
ing the hours until the Jew or the boys re- 

In all the rooms the mouldering shutters 
were fast closed, and the bars which held them 
were screwed tight into the wood; the only 
light which was admitted making its way 
through round holes at the top, which made 
the rooms more gloomy, and filled them with 
strange shadows. There was a back-garret 
window, with rusty bars outside, which had no 
shutter, and out of which Oliver often gazed 
with a melancholy face for hours together ; but 
nothing was to be descried from it but a con- 
fused and crowded mass of house-tops, blacken- 


ed chimneys, and gable-ends. Sometimes, in- 
deed, a ragged grizzly head might be seen 
peering over the parapet- wall of a distant house, 
but it was quickly withdrawn again ; and as the 
window of Oliver's observatory was nailed down, 
and dimmed with the rain and smoke of years, 
it was as much as he could do to make out the 
forms of the different objects beyond, without 
making any attempt to be seen or heard, — 
which he had as much chance of being as if he 
had been inside the ball of St. PauFs Cathedral. 

One afternoon, the Dodger and Master Bates 
being engaged out that evening, the first-named 
young gentleman took it into his head to evince 
some anxiety regarding the decoration of his 
person (which, to do him justice, was by no 
means an habitual weakness with him;) and, 
with this end and aim, he condescendingly com- 
manded Oliver to assist him in his toilet 

Oliver was but too glad to make himself 
useful ; too happy to have some faces, however 
bad, to look upon, and too desirous to conciliate 


those about him when he could honestly do so, 
to throw any objection in the way of this pro- 
posal ; so he at once expressed his readiness, 
and, kneeling on the floor, while the Dodger sat 
upon the table so that he could take his foot in 
his lap, he applied himself to a process which 
Mr. Dawkins designated as "japanning his 
trotter-cases," and which phrase, rendered into 
plain English, signifieth cleaning his boots. 

Whether it was the sense of freedom and 
independence which a rational animal may be 
supposed to feel when he sits on a table in an 
easy attitude, smoking a pipe, swinging one leg 
carelessly to and fro, and having his boots 
cleaned all the time, without even the past 
trouble of having taken them off, or the pro- 
spective misery of putting them on, to disturb 
his reflections ; or whether it was the goodness 
of the tobacco that soothed the feelings of the 
Dodger, or the mildness of the beer that molli- 
fied his thoughts, he was evidently tinctured 
for the nonce with a spice of romance and en- 
thusiasm foreign to his general nature. He 

o 5 


looked down on Oliver with a thoughtful coun- 
tenance for a brief space, and then, raising his 
head, and heaving a gentle sigh, said, half in 
abstraction, and half to Master Bates, 

" What a pity it is he isn't a prig ! " 

"Ah!" said Master Charles Bates; "he 
don't know what 's good for him." 

The Dodger sighed again, and resumed his 
pipe, as did Charley Bates. They both smoked 
for some seconds in silence. 

" I suppose you don't even know what a 
prig is ? " said the Dodger mournfully. 

" I think I know that," replied Oliver, hastily 
looking up. " It 's a th — ; you 're one, are 
you not ?" inquired Oliver, checking himself. 

" I am," replied the Dodger. " I M scorn to 
be any think else." Mr. Dawkins gave his hat 
a ferocious cock after delivering this sentiment, 
and looked at Master Bates as if to denote that 
he would feel obliged by his saying anything 
to the contrary. " I am," repeated the Dod- 
ger ; " so 's Charley, so 's Fagin, so 's Sikes, 
so's Nancy, so's Bet, go we all are, down 


to the dog, and he 's the downiest one of the 

" And the least given to peaching," added 
Charley Bates. 

" He wouldn't so much as bark in a witness- 
box for fear of committing himself; no, not if 
you tied him up in one, and left him there with- 
out wittles for a fortnight," said the Dodger. 

"" That he wouldn't ; not a bit of it," observ- 
ed Charley. 

" He "*s a rum dog. Don't he look fierce at 
any strange cove that laughs or sings when he 's 
in company ! " pursued the Dodger. " Won't 
he growl at all, when he hears a fiddle playing, 
and don't he hate other dogs as ain't of his 
breed!— Oh, no!" 

" He 's an out-and-out Christian," said Char- 

This was merely intended as a tribute to the 
animal's abilities, but it was an appropriate 
remark in another sense, if Master Bates had 
only known it ; for there are a great many 
ladies and gentlemen claiming to be out-and- 


out Christians, between whom and Mr. Sikes's 
(log there exist very strong and singular points 
of resemblance. 

" Well, well," said the Dodger, recurring 
to the point from which they had strayed, 
with that mindfulness of his profession which 
influenced all his proceedings. " This hasnH 
got anything to do with young Green here." 

" No more it has," said Charley. " Why 
don't you put yourself imder Fagin, Oliver?" 

" And make your fortun' out of hand ? " 
added the Dodger, with a grin. 

'' And so be able to retire on your property, 
and do the gen-teel, as I mean to in the very 
next leap-year but four that ever comes, and 
the forty-second Tuesday in Trinity-week," 
said Charley Bates. 

" I don't like it," rejoined Oliver timidly; 
" I wish they would let me go. I — I — would 
rather go." 

"And Fagin would rather not!" rejoined 

Oliver knew this too well ; but, thinking it 


might be dangerous to express his feelings more 
openly, he only sighed, and went on with his 
boot- cleaning. 

'' Go !" exclaimed the Dodger. " Why, 
where 's your spirit ? Don't you take any pride 
out of yourself? Would you go and be de- 
pendent on your friends, eh ? *" 

" Oh, blow that !" said Master Bates, draw- 
ing two or three silk handkerchiefs from his 
pocket, and tossing them into a cupboard, 
" that's too mean, that is." 

" / couldn't do it," said the Dodger, with an 
air of haughty disgust. 

"• You can leave your friends, though," said 
Oliver with a half-smile, "and let them be 
punished for what you did." 

" That," rejoined the Dodger, with a wave 
of his pipe, — " that was all out of consideration 
for Fagin, 'cause the traps know that we work 
together, and he might have got into trouble if 
we hadn't made our lucky ; that was the move, 
wasn't it, Charley ? " 

Master Bates nodded assent, and would have 


spoken, but that the recollection of Oliver's 
flight came so suddenly upon him, that the 
smoke he was inhaling got entangled with a 
laugh, and went up into his head, and down 
into his throat, and brought on a fit of coughing 
and stamping about five minutes long. 

" Look here," said the Dodger, drawing 
forth a handful of shillings and halfpence. 
" Here's a jolly life ! — what's the odds where 
it comes from ? Here, catch hold ; there 's 
plenty more where they were took from. You 
won't, won't you ? — Oh, you precious flat ! " 

"It's naughty, ain't it, Oliver?" inquired 
Charley Bates. " He'll come to be scragged, 
won't he?" 

" I don't know what that means," replied 
Oliver, looking round. 

" Something in this way, old feller," said 
Charley. As he said it. Master Bates caught 
up an end of his neckerchief, and, holding it 
erect in the air, dropped his head on his shoul- 
der, and jerked a curious sound through his 
teeth, thereby indicating, by a lively pantomi- 

(Z^M ^A^ya/aj do/^^/^^yj ^'^y^^^^4^^/^^^^^^^ 

London Tl,-chard l^ontlcy. Doc."" J . ]S3'/ 


mic representation, that scragging and hanging 
were one and the same thing. 

" That's what it means," said Charley. 
" Look how he stares, Jack. I never did 
see such prime company as that 'ere boy ; 
he'll be the death of me, I know he will." 
And Master Charles Bates, having laughed 
heartily again, resumed his pipe with tears in 
his eyes. 

'' You've been brought up bad," said the 
Dodger, surveying his boots with much sa- 
tisfaction when Oliver had polished them. 
" Fagin will make something of you, though, 
or you '11 be the first he ever had that turned 
out unprofitable. You'd better begin at 
once, for you'll come to the trade long be- 
fore you think of it, and you're only losing 
time, Oliver." 

Master Bates backed this advice with sun- 
dry moral admonitions of his own, which being 
exhau.sted, he and his friend Mr. Dawkins 
launched into a glowing description of the nu- 
merous pleasures incidental to the life they led, 


interspersed with a variety of hints to Oliver 
that the best thing he could do, would be to 
secure Fagin's favour without more delay by 
the same means which they had employed to 
gain it. 

" And always put this in your pipe, Nolly,'' 
said the Dodger, as the Jew was heard unlock- 
ing the door above, " if you don't take fogies 
and tickers " 

" What's the good of talking in that way?" 
interposed Master Bates : "he don't know 
what you mean." 

" If you don't take pocket-hankechers and 
watches," said the Dodger, reducing his conver- 
sation to the level of Oliver's capacity, " some 
other cove will ; so that the coves that lose 'em 
will be all the worse, and you'll be all the 
worse too, and nobody half a ha'p'orth the bet- 
ter, except the chaps wot gets them — and 
you've just as good a right to them as they 

" To be sure, — to be sure!" said the Jew, 
who had entered unseen by Oliver. " It all 


lies in a nutshell, my dear — in a nutshell, take 
the Dodger's word for it. Ha ! ha ! — he under- 
stands the catechism of his trade."' 

The old man rubbed his hands gleefully toge- 
ther as he corroborated the Dodger's reasoning 
in these terms, and chuckled with delight at 
his pupil's proficiency. 

The conversation proceeded no farther at 
this time, for the Jew had returned home ac- 
companied by Miss Betsy, and a gentleman 
whom Oliver had never seen before, but who 
was accosted by the Dodger as Tom Chilling, 
and who, having lingered on the stairs to ex- 
change a few gallantries with the lady, now 
made his appearance. 

Mr. Chitling was older in years than the 
Dodger, having perhaps numbered eighteen 
winters ; but there was a degree of deference 
in his deportment towards that young gentle- 
man which seemed to indicate that he felt him- 
self conscious of a slight inferiority in point of 
genius and professional acquirements. He had 
small twinkling eyes, and a pock-marked face i 


wore a fur cap, a dark corduroy jacket, greasy 
fustian trousers, and an apron. His wardrobe 
was, in truth, rather out of repair ; but he ex- 
cused himself to the company by stating that 
his " time" was only out an hour before, and 
that, in consequence of having worn the regi- 
mentals for six weeks past, he had not been 
able to bestow any attention on his private 
clothes. Mr. Chitling added, with strong 
marks of irritation, that the new way of fumi- 
gating clothes up yonder was infernal uncon- 
stitutional, for it burnt holes in them, and there 
was no remedy against the county ; the same 
remark he considered to apply to the regulation 
mode of cutting the hair, which he held to be 
decidedly unlawful. Mr. Chitling wound up 
his observations by stating that he had not 
touched a drop of anything for forty- two mortal 
long hard-working days, and that he '' wished 
he might be busted if he wasn't as dry as a 

" Where do you think the gentleman has 
come from, Oliver.'^" inquired the Jew with a 


grin, as the other boys put a bottle of spirits on 
the table. 

" I — I — don't know, sir," replied Oliver. 

''Who's that?" inquired Tom Chitling, 
casting a contemptuous look at Oliver. 

" A young friend of mine, my dear," re- 
plied the Jew. 

" He 's in luck then,'' said the young man, 
with a meaning look at Fagin. " Never mind 
where I came from, young 'un ; you '11 find 
your way there soon enough, I '11 bet a 
crown !" 

At this sally the boys laughed, and, after 
some more jokes on the same subject, exchang- 
ed a few short whispers with Fagin, and with- 

After some words apart between the last 
comer and Fagin, they drew their chairs to- 
wards the fire ; and the Jew, telling Oliver to 
come and sit by him, led the conversation to 
the topics most calculated to interest his hearers. 
These were, the great advantages of the trade, 
the proficiency of the Dodger, the amiability of 


Charley Bates, and the Hberality of the Jew 
himself. At length these subjects displayed 
signs of being thoroughly exhausted, and Mr. 
Chitling did the same (for the house of correc- 
tion becomes fatiguing after a week or two) ; 
Miss Betsy accordingly withdrew, and left the 
party to their repose. 

From this day Oliver was seldom left alone, 
but was placed in almost constant communi- 
cation with the two boys, who played the 
old game with the Jew every day, — whether 
for their own improvement or Oliver's, Mr. 
Fagin best knew. At other times the old 
man would tell them stories of robberies he 
had committed in his younger days, mixed 
up with so much that was droll and curious, 
that Oliver could not help laughing heartily, 
and showing that he was amused in spite of 
all his better feelings. 

In short, the wily old Jew had the boy in 
his toils ; and, having prepared his mind, by 
solitude and gloom, to prefer any society to the 


companionship of his own sad thoughts in such 
a dreary place, was now slowly instilling into 
his soul the poison which he hoped would black- 
en it and change its hue for ever. 




It was a chill, damp, windy night, when the 
Jew, buttoning his great-coat tight round his 
shrivelled body, and pulling the collar up over 
his ears so as completely to obscure the lower 
part of his face, emerged from his den. He 
paused on the step as the door was locked and 
chained behind him ; and having listened while 
the boys made all secure, and until their re- 
treating footsteps were no longer audible, slunk 
down the street as quickly as he could. 

The house to which Oliver had been con- 
veyed was in the neighbourhood of White- 
chapel ; the Jew stopped for an instant at the 
corner of the street, and, glancing suspiciously 


round, crossed the road, and struck oiF in the 
direction of Spitalfields. 

The mud lay thick upon the stones, and a 
black mist hung over the streets ; the rain fell 
sluggishly down, and everything felt cold and 
clammy to the touch. It seemed just the night 
when it befitted such a being as the Jew to be 
abroad. As he glided stealthily along, creeping 
beneath the shelter of the walls and doorways, 
the hideous old man seemed like some loath- 
some reptile, engendered in the slime and dark- 
ness through which he moved, crawling forth 
by night in search of some rich oiFal for a meal. 

He kept on his course through many winding 
and narrow ways until he reached Bethnal 
Green ; then, turning suddenly off to the left, 
he soon became involved in a maze of the mean 
and dirty streets which abound in that close 
and densely-populated quarter. 

The Jew was evidently too familiar with the 
ground he traversed, however, to be at all be- 
wildered either by the darkness of the night or 


the intricacies of the way. He hurried through 
several alleys and streets, and at length turned 
into one lighted only by a single lamp at the 
farther end. At the door of a house in this 
street he knocked, and having exchanged a few 
muttered words with the person who opened 
the door, walked up stairs. 

A dog growled as he touched the handle of a 
door, and a man's voice demanded who was 

" Only me, Bill ; only me, my dear," said 
the Jew, looking in. 

" Bring in your body," said Sikes. " Lie 
down, you stupid brute. Don't you know the 
devil when he 's got a great-coat on ? " 

Apparently the dog had been somewhat de- 
ceived by Mr. Fagin's outer garment; for as 
the Jew unbuttoned it, and threw it over the 
back of a chair, he retired to the corner from 
which he had risen, wagging his tail as he went, 
to show that he was as well satisfied as it was 
in his nature to be. 


" Well!'' said Sikes. 

'' Well, my dear,'"* replied the Jew. " Ah ! 

The latter recognition was uttered with just 
enough of embarrassment to imply a doubt of 
its reception ; for Mr. Fagin and his young 
friend had not met since she had interfered in 
behalf of Oliver. All doubts upon the subject, 
if he had any, were speedily removed by the 
young lady's behaviour. She took her feet 
off the fender, pushed back her chair, and 
bade Fagin draw up his, without saying any 
more about it, for it was a cold night, and no 

'' It is cold, Nancy dear," said the Jew, as 
he warmed his skinny hands over the fire. 
" It seems to go right through one," added the 
old man, touching his left side. 

" It must be a piercer if it finds its way 
through your heart," said Mr. Sikes. " Give 
him something to drink, Nancy. Burn my 
body, make haste. It 's enough to turn a man 

VOL. I. p 


ill to see his lean old carcase shivering in that 

way, like a ugly ghost just rose from the 


Nancy quickly brought a bottle from a cup- 
board in which there were many, which, to 
judge from the diversity of their appearance, 
were filled with several kinds of liquids ; and 
Sikes, pouring out a glass of brandy, bade the 
Jew drink it off. 

" Quite enough, quite, thankye. Bill,'*' replied 
the Jew, putting down the glass after just 
setting his lips to it. 

"What! you're afraid of our getting the 
better of you, are you?'" inquired Sikes, fixing 
his eyes on the Jew : " ugh ! " 

With a hoarse grunt of contempt Mr. Sikes 
seized the glass and threw the remainder of 
its contents into the ashes, as a preparatory 
ceremony to filling it again for himself, which 
he did at once. 

The Jew glanced round the room as his com- 
panion tossed down the second glassful ; not in 


curiosity, for he had seen it often before, but in 
a restless and suspicious manner which was 
habitual to him. It was a meanly furnished 
apartment, with nothing but the contents of the 
closet to induce the belief that its occupier was 
anything but a working man ; and with no more 
suspicious articles displayed to view than two 
or three heavy bludgeons which stood in a 
corner, and a " life-preserver " that hung over 
the mantelpiece. 

" There," said Sikes, smacking his lips. 
" Now I 'm ready." 

" For business — eh ? " inquired the Jew. 

"For business," replied Sikes ; " so say what 
youVe got to say." 

" About the crib at Chertsey, Bill ? " said 
the Jew, drawing his chair forward, and speak- 
ing in a very low voice. 

" Yes. Wot about it ?" inquired Sikes. 

" Ah ! you know what I mean, my dear," 
said the Jew. " He knows what I mean, 
Nancy ; don't he ? " 



" No, he don't," sneered Mr. Sikes, " or he 
won't, and that 's the same thing. Speak out, 
and call thmgs by their right names ; don't sit 
there winking and blinking, and talking to me 
in hints, as if you warn't the very first that 
thought about the robbery. D — your eyes ! 
wot d'ye mean ? " 

" Hush, Bill, hush !" said the Jew, who had 
ill vain attempted to stop this burst of indigna- 
tion ; " somebody will hear us, my dear ; some- 
body will hear us." 

"Let 'em hear!" said Sikes; "I don't 
care."*' But as Mr. Sikes did care, upon re- 
flection he dropped his voice as he said the 
words, and grew calmer. 

" There, there," said the Jew coaxingly. 
" It was only my caution — nothing more. 
Now, my dear, about that crib at Chertsey , 
when is it to be done. Bill, eh ? — when is it to 
be done ? Such plate, my dears, such plate ! " 
said the Jew, rubbing his hands, and elevating 
his eyebrows in a rapture of anticipation. 


'' Not at all," replied Sikes coldly. 

" Not to be done at all ! " echoed the Jew, 
leaning back in his chair. 

" No, not at all," rejoined Sikes ; " at least 
it can't be a put-up job, as we expected." 

" Then it hasn't been properly gone about," 
said the Jew, turning pale with anger. " Don''t 
tell me." 

" But I will tell you," retorted Sikes. 
" Who are you that's not to be told ? I tell 
you that Toby Crackit has been hanging about 
the place for a fortnight, and he can't get one of 
the servants into a line." 

" Do you mean to tell me, Bill," said the 
Jew, softening as the other grew heated, " that 
neither of the two men in the house can be got 
over ? " 

" Yes, I do mean to tell you so," replied 
Sikes. '' The old lady has had 'em these 
twenty year ; and, if you were to give 'em five 
hundred pound, they wouldn't be in it." 

" But do you mean to say, my dear," remon- 


strated the Jew, " that the women can't be got 
over ? 

" Not a bit of it," repHed Sikes. 

" Not by flash Toby Cracldt?" said the Jew 
incredulously. " Think what women are, Bill." 

" No ; not even by flash Toby Crackit," 
replied Sikes. " He says he 's worn sham 
whiskers and a canary waistcoat the whole 
blessed time he's been loitering down there, 
and ifs all of no use." 

" He should have tried mustachios and a pair 
of military trousers, my dear," said the Jew, 
after a few moments' reflection. 

''So he did," rejoined Sikes, " and they 
warnH of no more use than the other plant." 

The Jew looked very blank at this informa- 
tion, and, arter ruminating for some minutes 
with his chin sunk on his breast, raised his 
head, and said with a deep sigh that, if flash 
Toby Crackit reported aright, he feared the 
game was up, 

"And yet," said the old man, dropping his 


hands on his knees, '' it 's a sad thing, my dear, 
to lose so much when we had set our hearts 
upon it." 

'' So it is," said Mr. Sikes ; '' worse luck !" 

A long silence ensued, during which the Jew 
was plunged in deep thought, with his face 
wrinkled into an expression of villany perfectly 
demoniacal. Sikes eyed him furtively from 
time to time ; and Nancy, apparently fearful of 
irritating the housebreaker, sat with her eyes 
fixed upon the fire, as if she had been deaf to 
all that passed. 

" Fagin," said Sikes, abruptly breaking the 
stillness that prevailed, " is it worth fifty shiners 
extra, if it 's safely done from the outside ? " 

" Yes," said the Jew, suddenly rousing him- 
self, as if from a trance. 

" Is it a bargain?" inquired Sikes. 

" Yes, my dear, yes," rejoined the Jew, 
grasping the other's hand, his eyes glistening, 
and every muscle in his face working with the 
excitement that the inquiry had awakened. 


" Then/' said Sikes, thrusting aside the Jew's 
hand with some disdain, " let it come off as 
soon as you hke. Toby and I were over the 
garden-wall the night afore last, sounding the 
panels of the door and shutters : the crib 's bar- 
red up at night like a jail, but there 's one part 
we can crack, safe and softly." 

"Which is that, Bill?" asked the Jew 

" Why," whispered Sikes, " as you cross the 
lawn ■ " 

" Yes, yes," said the Jew, bending his head 
forward, with his eyes almost starting out of it. 

" Umph ! " cried Sikes, stopping short as the 
girl, scarcely moving her head, looked suddenly 
round and pointed for an instant to the Jew's 
face. " Never mind which part it is. You 
can't do it without me, I know ; but it 's best 
to be on the safe side when one deals with you." 

" As you like, my dear, as you like," replied 
the Jew, biting his lip. " Is there no help 
wanted but yours and Toby's ? " 


" None," said Sikes, '' 'cept a centre-bit and 
a boy. The first we Ve both got ; the second 
you mnst find us." 

*' A boy ! " exclaimed the Jew. " Oh ! then 
it is a panel, eh ? " 

'* Never mind wot it is ! " rephed Sikes ; "I 
want a boy, and he mustn't be a big un. 
Lord!" said Mr. Sikes reflectively, "if Td 
only got that young boy of Ned, the chimbley- 
sweeper's — he kept him small on purpose, and 
let him out by the job. But the father gets 
lagged, and then the Juvenile Delinquent So- 
ciety comes, and takes the boy away from a 
trade where he was arning money, teaches him 
to read and write, and in time makes a 'prentice 
of him. And so they go on," said Mr. Sikes, 
his wrath rising with the recollection of his 
wrongs, — " so they go on ; and, if they VI got 
money enough, (which it 's a Providence they 
have not,) we shouldn't have half-a-dozen boys 
left in the whole trade in a year or two." 

" No more we should," acquiesced the Jew, 



who had been considering during this speech, 
and had only caught the last sentence. " Bill V 
"■ What now ?" inquired Sikes. 
The Jew nodded his head towards Nancy, 
who was still gazing at the fire, and intimated 
by a sign that he would have her told to leave 
the room. Sikes shrugged his shoulders impa- 
tiently, as if he thought the precaution unneces- 
sary, but complied, nevertheless, by requesting 
Miss Nancy to fetch him a jug of beer. 

" You don't want any beer,'' said Nancy, 
folding her arms, and retaining her seat very 

" I tell you I do ! " replied Sikes. 
" Nonsense," rejoined the girl, coolly. " Go 
on, Fagin. I know what he's going to say. 
Bill ; he needn't mind me." 

The Jew still hesitated, and Sikes looked 
from one to the other in some surprise. 

" Why, you don't mind the old girl, do you, 
Fagin?" he asked at length. "• You've known 
her long enough to trust her, or the devil 's in 
it. She ain't one to blab, are you, Nancy .?" 


" / should think not ! " repHed the young 
lady, drawing her chair up to the table, and 
putting her elbows upon it. 

" No, no, my dear, — I know youVe not," 

said the Jew ; " but '"* and again the old 

man paused. 

" But wot?'"* inquired Sikes. 

" I didn't know whether she mightn't p'r'aps 
be out of sorts, you know, my dear, as she was 
the other night,"' replied the Jew. 

At this confession Miss Nancy burst into a 
loud laugh, and, swallowing a glass of brandy, 
shook her head with an air of defiance, and 
burst into sundry exclamations of " Keep the 
game a-going!" "Never say die!" and the 
like, which seemed at once to have the effect 
of re-assuring both gentlemen, for the Jew 
nodded his head with a satisfied air, and re- 
sumed his seat, as did Mr. Sikes likewise. 

" Now, Fagin," said Nancy with a laugh, 
" tell Bill at once about Oliver !" 

" Ah ! you 're a clever one, my dear ; the 


sharpest girl I ever saw ! " said the Jew, patting 
her on the neck. " It was about OKver I was 
going to speak, sure enough. Ha ! ha ! ha ! *" 

" What about him ?" demanded Sikes. 

'' He's the boy for you, my dear,*" repKed 
the Jew in a hoarse whisper, laying his finger 
on the side of his nose, and grinning frightfully. 

" He !" exclaimed Sikes. 

" Have him, Bill !"" said Nancy. " I would 
if I was in your place. He mayn't be so much 
up as any of the others ; but that 's not what 
you want if he 's only to open a door for you. 
Depend upon it he 's a safe one. Bill." 

" I know he is," rejoined Fagin; " he's been 
in good training these last few weeks, and it 's 
time he began to work for his bread. Besides, 
the others are all too big." 

" Well, he is just the size I want," said Mr. 
Sikes, ruminating. 

'' And will do everything you want, Bill, my 
dear," interposed the Jew; "he can't help him- 
self, — that is if you only frighten him enough." 


'' Frighten him !" echoed Sikes. " It'll be 
no sham frightening, mind you. If there ''s any- 
thing queer about him when we once get into 
the work, — in for a penny, in for a pound, — 
you won't see him alive again, Fagin. Think 
of that before you send him. Mark my words," 
said the robber, poising a heavy crowbar which 
he had drawn from under the bedstead. 

" I Ve thought of it all," said the Jew with 
energy. " I Ve — I Ve had my eye upon him, 
my dears, close — close. Once let him feel that 
he is one of us ; once fill his mind with the idea 
that he has been a thief, and he 's ours, — ours 
for his life ! Oho ! It couldn't have come 
about better ! " The old man crossed his arms 
upon his breast, and, drawing his head and 
shoulders into a heap, literally hugged himself 
for joy. 

" Ours ! " said Sikes. " Yours, you mean." 

" Perhaps I do, my dear," said the Jew with 
a shrill chuckle. " Mine, if you like, Bill." 

" And wot," said Sikes, scowling fiercely on 


his agreeable friend, — " wot makes you take so 
much pains about one chalk-faced kid, when 
you know there are fifty boys snoozing about 
Common Garden every night, as you might 
pick and choose from ? " 

" Because they're of no use to me, my dear," 
replied the Jew with some confusion, " not 
worth the taking ; for their looks convict 'em 
when they get into trouble, and I lose 'em all. 
With this boy properly managed, my dears, I 
could do what I couldn't with twenty of them. 
Besides," said the Jew, recovering his self- 
possession, " he has us now if he could only 
give us leg-bail again ; and he must be in the 
same boat with us. Never mind how he came 
there, it 's quite enough for my power over him 
that he was in a robbery, that's all I want. 
Now how much better this is than being 
obliged to put the poor leetle boy out of the 
way, which would be dangerous, and we should 
lose by it besides." 

" When is it to be done ?" asked Nancy, 


stopping some turbulent exclamation on the 
part of Mr. Sikes, expressive of the disgust 
with which he received Fagin"'s affectation of 

" Ah, to be sure," said the Jew, " when is it 
to be done, Bill?" 

" I planned with Toby, the night arter to- 
morrow," rejoined Sikes in a surly voice, '' if he 
heard nothing from me to the contrairy." 

" Good," said the Jew ; " there 's no moon." 

" No," rejoined Sikes. 

" Ifs all arranged about bringing off the 
swag,* is it ?" asked the Jew. 

Sikes nodded. 

" And about " 

" Oh, ah, it's all planned," rejoined Sikes, 
interrupting him ; " never mind particulars. 
You 'd better bring the boy here to-morrow 
night ; I shall get off the stones an hour arter 
day-break. Then you hold your tongue, and 
keep the melting-pot ready, and that's all 
you'll have to do." 

* Booty. 


After some discussion, in which all three took 
an active part, it was decided that Nancy should 
repair to the Jew's next evening when the 
night had set in, and bring Oliver away with 
her : Fagin craftily observing, that, if he evinced 
any disinclination to the task, he would be more 
willing to accompany the girl who had so re- 
cently interfered in his behalf, than anybody 
else. It was also solemnly arranged that poor 
Oliver should, for the purposes of the contem- 
plated expedition, be unreservedly consigned to 
the care and custody of Mr. William Sikes ; 
and further, that the said Sikes should deal with 
him as he thought fit, and should not be held 
responsible by the Jew for any mischance or 
evil that might befall the boy, or any punish- 
ment with which it might be necessary to visit 
him, it being understood that, to render the 
compact in this respect binding, any representa- 
tions made by Mr. Sikes on his return should 
be required to be confirmed and corroborated, 
in all important particulars, by the testimony 
offlashToby Crackit. 



These preliminaries adjusted, Mr. Sikes pro- 
ceeded to drink brandy at a furious rate, and to 
flourish the crowbar in an alarming manner, 
yelling forth at the same time most unmusical 
snatches of song, mingled with wild execrations. 
At length, in a fit of professional enthusiasm, he 
insisted upon producing his box of housebreak- 
ing tools, which he had no sooner stumbled in 
with, and opened for the purpose of explaining 
the nature and properties of the various imple- 
ments it contained, and the peculiar beauties of 
their construction, than he fell over it upon the 
floor, and went to sleep where he fell. 

" Good night, Nancy,""* said the Jew, muf- 
fling himself up as before. 

" Good night." 

Their eyes met, and the Jew scrutinised her 
narrowly. There was no flinching about the 
girl. She was as true and earnest in the matter 
as Toby Crackit himself could be. 

The Jew again bade her good night, and, 
bestowing a sly kick upon the prostrate form of 


Mr. Sikes while her back was turned, groped 
down stairs. 

" Always the way," muttered the Jew to him- 
self as he turned homewards. " The worst of 
these women is, that a very little thing serves 
to call up some long-forgotten feeling ; and the 
best of them is, that it never lasts. Ha ! ha ! 
The man against the child, for a bag of gold ! *" 

Beguiling the time with these pleasant re- 
flections, Mr. Fagin wended his way through 
mud and mire to his gloomy abode, where the 
Dodger was sitting up, impatiently awaiting his 

" Is Oliver a-bed ? I want to speak to him," 
was his first remark as they descended the stairs. 

" Hours ago," replied the Dodger, throwing 
open a door. " Here he is ! " 

The boy was lying fast asleep on a rude bed 
upon the floor : so pale with anxiety and sadness, 
and the closeness of his prison, that he looked 
like death ; not death as it shows in shroud and 
coffin, but in the guise it wears when life has 


just departed ; when a young and gentle spirit 
has but an instant fled to heaven, and the gross 
air of the world has not had time to breathe 
upon the changing dust it hallowed. 

" Not now," said the Jew, turning softly, 
away. " To-morrow. To-morrow." 



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